Greig Box, Mirror (London), Jan. 30. 2006
Violent Islamic extremists are terrorising inmates at Britain’s toughest jail with an iron fist as they trawl for al-Qaeda recruits.
The gang of thugs — known as The Muslim Boys — intimidate frightened inmates at Belmarsh into joining their faith, beating those who refuse their bullying demands.
Some bloodied victims have been slashed by razor blades attached to toothbrushes. Others have had boiling water hurled over them. Prisoners say they are in fear for their lives.
The brutal brotherhood — whose gang on the outside is the Yard’s Public Enemy No 1 — also host weekly “religious” meetings where it is feared members are groomed for terrorism by al-Qaeda chiefs.
Watching guards are helpless to take action as they do not understand what is being said. Some have been attacked at the “services”.
In a bid to break the network, leaders have been transferred to other jails. But others step into their shoes.
The reign of terror is disclosed in a leaked report — seen by the Mirror — from Belmarsh’s head of security.
Referring to a review in December, it declares: “Prisoners reported abuse, assaults, intimidation and threats. Some of the atrocities were carried out with impunity during associations causing victims to fear for their lives.
“Most of the perpetrators are believed to be members of the Muslim Boys gang who intensified their drive to recruit other prisoners to the fold.
“They force prisoners to accept the Muslim faith — those who refuse suffer assaults. They promise potential converts protection from other prisoners and staff who they challenge at every opportunity.”
A source said: “These people are terrifying. Extreme Muslims are pulling together and the jail has experienced a surge in violence, drugs and intimidation.
“The Muslim Boys’ gangmaster orders most of the assaults on fellow prisoners. They rule through fear and are very hard to infiltrate.”
Security chiefs are most worried at the weekly seminars held by the gang in Belmarsh’s multi-faith chapel.
Our source said: “Belmarsh has got a huge problem tackling the recruitment of terrorist cells.
“These people hold religious services every week. Around 125 Muslims attend and top members of al-Qaeda preach.
“None of the staff has a clue what they’re talking about. Six officers attend each service, but all they can do is stand and watch.
“Those in the chapel could be planning a major terrorist attack but the officers wouldn’t know.
“We can’t even tape the service and get it translated because it is against Human Rights. It’s frightening.”
A former intelligence officer said last night: “This is extremely worrying. The degree of indoctrination in prison might be much higher and result in a recruit more dedicated to terrorism.”
Category A Belmarsh, in South East London, holds Britain’s most dangerous terror suspects.
They include the four men suspected of planning to bomb London and an inmate thought to be a “senior member of al-Qaeda in the UK”.
The report details how one “prominent” inmate was seen becoming increasingly involved with Islam. It said: “He started attending Muslim services. In a phone conversation with his mother, he directed her to read some books that will convert her.
“He also associates with the Muslim Boys and took an active part in an assault on staff.”
Two chiefs of the Muslim Boys were moved from the jail in December. Gangmaster 1 is now in Brixton. Gangmaster 2 is at Whitemoor jail, Cambs. He is serving life for murder.
The report discloses that officers fear they are losing control of Belmarsh which is awash with mobile phones and drugs. An astonishing 32 mobiles and 191 drugs were found at the jail between July and December.
Two prisoners with terror links were “perpetual” phone offenders.
Handsets are rented out with prisoners inserting their own Sim cards. A source at the jail said: “Officers are struggling to keep a lid on it.”
The Brixton-based Muslim Boys are London’s most feared gang.
They are said to carry out forced conversions at gunpoint and are thought to be behind at least two executions, violent robberies, attempted murders and drug deals.
The Prison Service said last night: “We don’t comment on leaked documents. Each prison has an anti-bullying strategy. Prison governors also ensure any sign of radicalisation is vigorously challenged.”
COMPULSORY ID cards would have only “limited value” in the fight against terrorism, Lord Carlile the Government’s reviewer of anti-terror laws admitted yesterday.
‘An extensive custodial history of drugs, assaults and threats of assaults to both staff and fellow prisoners. Members of his gang intimidate other prisoners and forcefully make them accept the Muslim faith. Those who yield are granted a false protection within the prison, whilst those who refuse suffer abuse, assaults and intimidation’
‘In league with others he engaged in intimidation, assaults and recruitment of others into the Muslim Boys Gang/Muslim religion. The membership’s aim is to confront staff and cause major disruptions to good in the prison. Has been seen, along with two others, going round the landing tooled up (armed with weapons). They bully fellow prisoners’