Monday, April 19, 2010

Prison is 'not taming' Islamist radicals

Prison is 'not taming' Islamist radicals

Government efforts to de-radicalise jailed Islamic extremists are failing, former inmates have told the BBC.

The prison service employs Muslim chaplains to "challenge and undermine extremist ideology".

But former prisoners claim the imams are viewed as "puppets" and allege some have even been assaulted.

The Ministry of Justice said it was working "with a number of third-sector partner organisations" to rehabilitate prisoners.

Around 200 extremists have been jailed since the 2005 London bombings and some are now due for release from prison and are returning to their communities.

Londoner Qasim (not his real name), who was 17 when he was jailed for three and a half years after admitting attending a place used for terrorist training, said the prison imams failed to challenge his core beliefs.

"They didn't try to de-radicalise me. There wasn't much of that at all to be honest. There was a prison imam but he only came on a Friday to lead prayers," he told BBC Radio 4.

Other former prisoners claimed that the 200-strong prison imam service is not equipped to address the core ideology which led to their crimes.

Shah Jalal Hussain, who also lives in London and spent 18 months in prison after being convicted of raising funds to support terrorism, claimed that prison imams were viewed with open hostility and as "puppets of the regime".

"A number of times he [the imam] was even attacked physically. He tried to press charges, but dropped them in the end. Prison didn't change my views at all, in fact it made me stronger in my beliefs," he said.

No comments:

add this