The 14 Words

Monday, 12 May 2014

Islamic radicalisation a 'significant threat in prisons'

Head of prisons and probation service warns of risk of prisoners becoming radicalised and committing a terrorist offence

A prisoner behind bars. Over the past 10 years, the number of 
Muslims in prisons in England and Wales has doubled.

The head of the prison and probation service has said there is a significant threat of Islamic radicalisation behind bars. Michael Spurr, the chief executive of the National Offender Management Service of England and Wales (Noms), told BBC1's Panorama
"There is a significant risk, given the fact that we manage some very dangerous people. Our job is to minimise that risk becoming a reality – that somebody in prison becomes radicalised and commits a terrorist offence."
He warned there could be a "whole range of different potential scenarios [where] people could be hurt" if Noms failed in its job to protect the public from extremists.

Over the past 10 years, the number of Muslims in prisons in England and Wales has doubled, reaching 11,729 in 2013. There are about 100 al-Qaida-inspired Islamist terrorists behind bars.

Jordan Horner, who has taken the Islamic name Jamaal Uddin, claims in the programme that he has converted other prisoners during his time in prison. Speaking for the first time since his release from prison for trying to bring sharia law to the streets of London, he said: 
"The prison officers witnessed people become Muslim and in front of them I was giving them what we call shahada, an invitation and acceptance of Islam. They said I was trying to divide Muslims from non-Muslims, trying to get them to follow an extreme version of Islam." 
He said he was transferred between three different jails in less than a year in an effort to disrupt his activities.

In December 2012, Horner was filmed at a protest alongside Michael Adebowale who, five months later, murdered soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Horner became the first person to be placed on a five-year, landmark antisocial behaviour order, intended to stop him promoting extreme versions of Islam.

Panorama also also captured the moment that prisoner and Muslim convert Michael Coe was met on his release from jail by two convicted Islamic extremists. Coe said he converted to Islam while in jail after deciding it was "the way forward".

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