‘Basement imams’ spreading radical Islamism, Muslim prison chaplain warns

In the wake of last month’s Charlie Hebdo attacks, the French government is trying to tackle Islamist radicalisation in prisons. More than half of France’s 70,000 prisoners are Muslim, served by 182 chaplains, leading to a promise to recruit 60 more. But one chaplain, Mohammed Boina M’Koubou, is not sure that will be enough.

Boina M’Koubou visits the Fleury Mérogis prison twice a week.

Like anyone trying to enter the complex, some 20 kilometres south of Paris, he must pass through a lot of security. After the checkpoints, he goes by the office to say hello to the staff on duty and to his mailbox, where he picks up a list of the Muslim prisoners who have signed up to worship.