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Buddhism revealed as fastest-growing religion in Scottish jails

by Stephen Stewart, Daily Record, 9 OCT 2017

Cons are feeling karma as faith soars in popular across prisons in Scotland.

Edinburgh, Scotland (UK)
-- Buddhism is one of the fastest-growing religions in Scottish jails, the Record can reveal.


Figures show there are more than 20 practicing Buddhists in our prisons.

A Freedom of Information request has revealed 22 inmates registered their ­religion as Buddhism in the past three years.

Prison chiefs were unable to say where these inmates were or how many professed their Buddhist faith before 2014 – but the figure is believed to be a significant increase on past years.

The news comes as Buddhism was revealed as the fastest-growing religion in England’s jails, with numbers rising eightfold in 10 years. A source said: “It was a surprise to see so many cons professing their belief in a peaceful religion about karma and love.

“In the past, inmates have said they were Jewish or Muslim to get better food but it’s hard to see what’s behind the sudden surge in popularity of Buddhism.”

Followers of the faith, whose leaders includethe Dalai Lama, believe in the sanctity of life but almost all of the Buddhist inmates in England were serving time for serious crimes such as violence and sex offences.

It is claimed most of the Buddhists in jail converted after being convicted, and chose it because its emphasis on meditation helps them cope with being locked up.

Previously, Lord Avebury, the patron of Buddhist prison chaplaincy organisation ­Angulimala, said: “I think it does enable people to come to terms with their situation.

“Buddhism gets people away from the idea of material ambitions, and if people are in prison they can’t go for those goals anyway.”

Killer gangster Robert “Birdman” O’Hara has joined the ranks of converts.

More than 130 prisoners demand food for religious reasons and prison chiefs can’t challenge their beliefs.


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