Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), has claimed that the prison in which he was serving an 18-month sentence is “run by Islam”, with radical Islamist inmates bullying non-Muslims, encouraging people to convert and assaulting him.
Mr Robinson, who was jailed in January this year for mortgage fraud, made the revelations in a series of letters to the Telegraph’s Jamie Barlett.
In his letters, Robinson claims Woodhill Prison is a hotbed of Islamist radicalisation. “I had staff telling me that the guards don’t run the prison, Islam does,” he said.
He claims that radical preachers are paid £100 for each person they convert (although he doesn’t explain who pays them and how).
He adds that these Islamists are “enforcing sharia on the wings, preventing non-Muslims from taking showers [with Muslims]”.
He also claims that people in prison are converting to Islam in order to join Muslim gangs, which gives them some form of protection.
Robinson says that he was constantly threatened with violence from the prison’s Muslim population. He even alleges that in once instance he was set up by prison authorities, who left him in a waiting room with Muslim prisoners and then shut the door. The prisoners immediately set upon him, beating and kicking him, but Robinson fought back and ended up in trouble for fighting.
A spokesman for Woodhill Prison strongly denied the claims, however, saying there is “absolutely no evidence” for allegations of Muslims running the prison, or people being paid to convert. The spokesman also denied that staff had allowed Robinson to be targeted, but did confirm that a prison was treated for “minor injuries” following an incident with one other inmate – not several as Robinson claims.
The English Defence League was set up by Robinson to mobilise white working class opposition to Islamism, leading to it being denounced as far right. It has held a series of demonstrations in various cities across the UK which have become highly controversial, and attracted far left counter-demonstrations.
Robinson quit the EDL before his incarceration, claiming it had become too extreme, and started work with the counter-extremism Quilliam Foundation.
After the incident, he was moved to Winchester Prsion. He has since been released early, on the condition he does not contact anyone from the EDL until the end of his sentence.