Muslimer utgjør fem prosent av den britiske befolkningen. I fengslene er dog 13 prosent muslimer, en del konvertitter etter å ha startet soning.
Ikke-muslimer og ansatte i britiske fengsler forteller om en radikalisering av innsatte muslimer. Islam beskrives som ”en organisert gjeng”, ”en beskyttelsesrakett” , som ”glorifiserer terroristadferd og utnytter frykten relatert til den”, heter det i en rapport fra det britiske parlamentet.
Medlemmer av al-Qaida blant de innsatte beundres av unge medinnsatte, heter det videre. Man frykter økt rekruttering til terrorgrupper på innsiden av murene.
Prison guards said there were «proper Al-Qaeda» members in the prison who were regarded with «awe» by younger inmates. Some prisoners described Whitemoor as a «recruiting drive for the Taliban» and fertile ground for hatred and a new generation of extremists.
Guards also said they had a policy of «appeasement» towards the powerful and growing Islamic prison population, particularly convicted terrorists who were feared to be recruiting future extremists.
The report states: «The threat of assaults motivated by religious fanaticism or extremist ideology added weight to the atmosphere at Whitemoor,» and continues: «The new population mix, including high numbers of Muslim prisoners, was disrupting established hierarchies in the prison. Social relations among prisoners had become complex and less visible. Too much power flowed among some groups of prisoners, with some real risks of serious violence. There were high levels of fear in the prison. In particular, there were tensions and fears relating to ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalization.'»
The report concludes: «More prominent, in practice, were pressures (and temptations) felt by some prisoners to convert to Islam. Conditions in the prison made participation in Islamic practices the most ‘available’ option for those looking for belonging, meaning, ‘brotherhood,’ trust and friendship.»
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