UK report warns of impact of Islamist groups in prisons


UK report warns of impact of Islamist groups in prisons

Britain’s prisons have failed to recognize the dangers of Islamist “gang-type activity” and the impact of Islamist groups has been underestimated for too long by authorities, an independent report into the prison service said.

The landmark review on “Terrorism in Prisons” said that for the last 15 years groups of prisoners had adopted “an anti-state Islamist stance” that condones or encourages violence towards non-Muslim prisoners, prison officers and the general public.

The review was commissioned after a 2019 attack near London Bridge in which Usman Khan, a convicted Islamist militant who had been released early from prison, killed two people.

The report said there was a clear strand of prison behavior that could be illustrated by referring to Khan’s time there. “Much but not all of it is related to Usman Khan’s role in Islamist groups within the prison,” the review said.

Islamist group behavior had come to be seen as part of the prison landscape, the report said, and warned that militants who have been convicted of serious offences tended to exert influence within groups of prisoners.

The report said there was an understandable fear of discriminating against Muslim prisoners generally by focusing on a particular “flavor of gang-type behavior”.

It cited a tendency to regard Islam as a “no-go area” leading both to a reluctance to focus on Islamist group behavior and an overloading of responsibility on prison imams.

Source: Reuters

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