Radical Muslims ‘Target Young Inmates in Prison’

Martin Evans and Duncan Gardham, Telegraph (London), February 6, 2012

Despite being sent to maximum security jails, extremists are preaching hate to new inmates, breeding a fresh generation of radicals willing to launch terror attacks.

A nine-month inquiry by the home affairs select committee into the roots of violent radicalisation found that, in some cases, inmates were being persuaded to carry out suicide missions within days of entering prison.

The findings are published as four radical Islamists are due to be sentenced for plotting a major terror attack before Christmas on the London Stock Exchange, the London Eye and other important landmarks.

Mohammed Chowdhury, 21, Shah Rahman, 28, Abdul Miah, 25, and Gurukanth Desai, 30, will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court today for the Mumbai-style terror plot. It is believed Miah was radicalised in prison after being sentenced for drugs and weapons offences.

A former neighbour of his in Cardiff said he had “gone into prison as a petty criminal and came out spouting extremist views”.

Today’s report, “Roots of Radicalisation”, identified prisons as one of the major breeding grounds for terrorism-related extremism.

It also recognised the dangers posed by the internet and the role played by universities, where it was claimed radical preachers were often invited to speak without being “robustly challenged”.

In compiling their report, MPs visited the maximum security Belmarsh Prison in south-east London, which detains some of the most dangerous extremists in the country and where 20 per cent of inmates are Muslim.

They said staff at Belmarsh, which currently houses more than 30 terrorist prisoners, believed extremist views were “widely disseminated” among Muslim inmates.

The report found that while staff kept a record of who associated with terrorist prisoners, they intervened only if an individual presented “challenging behaviour”.

One inmate sent to Belmarsh on remand was persuaded to undertake a martyrdom mission within 72 hours of arriving. The unnamed individual was housed three cells away from the radical Jamaican-born preacher Abdullah al-Faisal who convinced him to become a suicide bomber within three days.

The report stated: “He left prison [and] went straight to Yemen desperately looking for jihad, desperately seeking a training camp. Fortunately, the handlers there in Yemen channelled him into an appropriate kind of madrassa… who taught him the correct understanding and sent him back to us.”

MPs also spoke to radical preacher Abu Hamza, who is detained in Belmarsh as he fights extradition to the US on terror charges. Hamza denied that his sermons contributed to radicalisation, telling the MPs he believed “it was enough for people to watch the news to be radicalised”. He claimed that prisoners turned to extremism because of a combination of “grievance, guilt and capability”.

According to the report, Hamza claimed: “Grievances were driven by British foreign policy, relating to Palestine and Afghanistan, and a sense that the Prophet [Mohammed] was being mocked.”

Some 20 per cent of the inmates in Belmarsh are Muslim, compared with 12 per cent across the prison population.

Michael Spurr, of the National Offender Management Service, told the committee they had “some evidence of individual prisoners who may have attempted to say things or have indicated views that could attract people to a radical cause” but no evidence it was on the increase.

However, Phil Wragg, the governor of Belmarsh, warned MPs that more needed to be done to share information about prisoners once they had been released.

The report stated: “Good aftercare [would ensure] prisoners who may have been vulnerable to violent extremist ideology in prison can make the transition safely into the community.”

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  • Anonymous

    I joined HM Prison Service as a uniformed Prison Officer in 1997 (I left 2001). I entered “The Service” as a Graduate, on the accelerated promotion scheme for Graduates. My discipline is Combined-Science; every other graduate entrant was ‘social’ or ‘humanities’. I had many interesting – and sometimes heated – conversations with my fellow Grads. I’m pro-punishment – they were pro-‘rehabilitaion’.

    Anyway, I was posted to HMP Wormwood Scrubs in London. A Victorian prison built for 600, but housing nearly 1200. A filthy, smelly place. Whilst I was there, I saw radicalism going on. Muslim prisoners are allowed religious services, just like prisoners of any other faith. I remember one one occasion walking into a classroom which had just been vacated my an Islamic workshop. There was literature there which called for Jihad against the ‘decadent’ West.

    This is a genuine problem, which needs to be sorted out. All Prison Imam’s need to be thoroughly screened. Radical Muslim prisoners need to be seperated from one another.

    Better still, send them all back to Arabia.

    Abu Hamza was sentenced to 11 years  in 2006 for inciting violence. He is also wanted in the US for terrorist related charges. And yet MP’s actually sought this man’s opinion!. This was reported in the Daily Mail in a very good article. The MP’s report even respectfully referred to Abu Hamza as ‘Mr. Hamza’.

    Islamic Radicalisation in British prison’s is a serious problem. It needs a serious solution.  

  • Today’s report, “Roots of Radicalisation”, identified prisons as one of
    the major breeding grounds for terrorism-related extremism.

    Here’s your answer to the question about the “roots of radicalization” — The very existence of non-white Muslims in Britain to begin with.  Personally, I don’t think they have to be “radicalized,” I think they’re already radical to begin with.  To say that someone “radicalized” them is to think that they were normal John and Jane Smith people only with darker skin tone.  It’s part and parcel of the lie of racial equality and egalitarianism.

    • Anonymous

      You are correct.  Take it a step further.  Blacks are “radicalized” from birth since they are taught that everything wrong with them is the fault of whites.    Everything they do good is in spite of whites and everything they do bad is because of whites.

      I wish I could say this is the mindset of poor blacks but I think about 85% think this way.  

  • Reminds me of the Zebra murders. I’m actually reading the book right now.