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Spirituality and Religion in the life of Muslim and Islamist prisoners: Egypt and the UK as case studies / Salwa El-Awa

Spiritual Counselling and Care in Health and Prison Services: Diverse Experiences & Practices, Pages: 99 - 128

Swansea University Author: Salwa, El-Awa

Abstract

This paper explores ways in which individuals deemed at risk of violent extremism can be supported, spiritually and religiously. Spirituality and religion both involve meaning-seeking (Gilbert, 2014), whilst Maslow’s hierarchy of needs posits that all humans have certain needs, and that once the mos...

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Published in: Spiritual Counselling and Care in Health and Prison Services: Diverse Experiences & Practices
ISBN: 978-605-80183-7-2
Published: Istanbul Centre for Education Values Publication House 2020
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa50537
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Abstract: This paper explores ways in which individuals deemed at risk of violent extremism can be supported, spiritually and religiously. Spirituality and religion both involve meaning-seeking (Gilbert, 2014), whilst Maslow’s hierarchy of needs posits that all humans have certain needs, and that once the most basic biological and physiological requirements are met humans will seek to satisfy higher-order desires such as the need for transcendence which includes the need to pursue various political, religious and other ideologies and belief systems (Maslow, 1970). Research on violent extremism suggests that radicalisation can involve the search for identity, meaning, belongingness (Guittet et al.2014), as such initiatives aimed at supporting those deemed at risk of violent extremism (including those individuals who have committed acts of terrorism) implicitly involve a focus on spirituality and/or religion. This article sets out some of the ways in which spiritual-religious counselling and care can be and are applied to violent extremists (and those deemed at risk of extremism), both inside and outside of a prison setting. The article draws on research by both authors, in the context of the UK and in the Middle East, and looks at mentoring, counselling and other community-based initiatives aimed at violent extremists. The authors argue that a spiritual-religious focus by practitioners and community members is central when engaging with violent extremists and those deemed at risk of violent extremism. The authors draw upon spiritual and religious frameworks of understanding to explore the support that is currently provided to violent extremists and those deemed at risk of violent extremism. The authors also highlight some of the challenges of providing spiritual-religious care, particularly in the context of radicalisation in prisons, the supervision of services, working within multi-ethnic and multi-faith societies, and the pressures placed upon practitioners and community members.
Keywords: Spirituality; prison; islamist; Islamic prisoners; Egypt
Start Page: 99
End Page: 128