Islam in Brussels prisons in the aftermath of terrorist attacks: an ethnographic study on Islam, prison policies, experiences and masculinities

Project Details


After the terrorist attacks in France (2015) and Belgium (2016),
radicalisation in Belgian prisons gained tremendous international attention in the public and political debate. However, academic research on the topic is limited. In this ethnographic research we aim to explore how the radicalisation discourse impacts current policies and experiences in prison by focusing on 1) the changing role of religion and Islam in particular in current prison policies (macro- level); 2) how Islam is regulated and experienced by prison actors (prison officers, governors and social service actors) (meso-level); 3) how Islam is experienced by Muslim prisoners (micro). Prison and Muslim masculinity frameworks are used in order to understand how masculinity impacts above mentioned policies and experiences. This groundbreaking research makes use of traditional ethnographic (participant observation and semi-structured interviews) and novel methodologies such as digital storytelling. Moreover, the multidisciplinary approach will enrich different research strands within anthropology, criminology, political science, and minority studies.
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/23

Flemish discipline codes

  • Anthropology of religion
  • Correctional theory, offender treatment and rehabilitation
  • Criminography and methods of criminological investigation
  • Punishment and criminal justice


  • Islam
  • masculinities
  • Prison