At least 35% of Italian prison inmates come from Muslim-majority countries, and one in four prisons has a prayer area set aside for them, a government report obtained by ANSAmed showed Monday.
The joint report by Italy's Iustice ministry and department of corrections is titled 'Mosques in Penal Institutions' and is to be released Tuesday in Rome at a Niccolò Cusano University conference on 'Muslims in Italy'. Of the 64,760 detainees as of September 30 (that number decreased to 62,500 people behind bars as of the end of 2013) approximately 23,000 were foreign, and 13,500 of these came from Muslim-majority countries, mostly Morocco and Tunisia.
Most were doing time for drug dealing, theft, falsifying documents and resisting arrest, the report showed. Of these, just under 9,000 were observant Muslims, including 181 imams or spiritual leaders, and 53 out of 202 prisons surveyed had mosques set up for them. In prisons lacking adequate space, people pray in their cells or in the yard.