Islamist prisoners spread radicalization in UK jails, report finds


Islamist prisoners spread radicalization in UK jails, report finds

Ministers of parliament visited Belmarch prison in south-east London, which detains some of the most dangerous extremists in the country, including radical cleric Abu Hamza. (Reuters)

Ministers of parliament visited Belmarch prison in south-east London, which detains some of the most dangerous extremists in the country, including radical cleric Abu Hamza. (Reuters)
By AL ARABIYA

Islamist prisoners in the United Kingdom are preaching radical Islam to new inmates, recent findings in a nine-month inquiry by the home affairs select committee have revealed on Monday.

The report states that despite extreme security in UK jails, in some cases inmates were being persuaded to carry out suicide missions within days of entering prison, The Telegraph reported, citing the findings.

Ministers of parliament had visited Belmarch prison in south-east London, which detains some of the most dangerous extremists in the country and where 20 percent of inmates are Muslims, housing more than 30 terrorist prisoners.

Among the detainees, MPs spoke to radical cleric Abu Hamza, serving a seven-year sentence in Belmarch for inciting murder and racial hatred while fighting an extradition to the United States on terror charges.

According to the report, titled “Roots of Radicalization,” Hamza claimed: “Grievances [for Islamists in UK prisons] were driven by British foreign policy, relating to Palestine and Afghanistan, and a sense that the Prophet [Mohammed] was being mocked,” The Telegraph reported.

But Hamza denied that his sermons contributed to radicalization, telling the MPs he believed “it was enough for people to watch the news to be radicalized.”

Hamza also claimed that prisoners turned to extremism because of a combination of “grievance, guilt and capability.”

The findings come 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 in the city.

It is believed that one of the terrorists, Abdul Miah, 25, was radicalized in prison after being sentenced for drugs and weapons offences, the newspaper reported.

A former neighbor of his in Cardiff told The Telegraph that Miah had “gone into prison as a petty criminal and came out spouting extremist views.”

But 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 that incited radicalization in jails was on the rise.

The report, however, suggested that “good aftercare [would ensure] prisoners who may have been vulnerable to violent extremist ideology in prison can make the transition safely into the community.”
(Written by Eman El-shenawi)

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