Muslim chaplains working within Britain’s prison system have been routinely distributing Islamist hate literature, leaving extremist pamphlets preaching death to non-believers and hatred of the West within easy reach of inmates, a leaked review has revealed.
The Ministry of Justice, who has oversight for chaplaincy appointments within prisons, is understood to have issued an urgent internal alert warning of “severe reputation damage” thanks to the extremist nature of the material.
The compact discs (CDs) and leaflets, some of which were imported from Saudi Arabia, contain homophobic and misogynistic messages, as well as inciting hatred against non-Muslims and Western culture. Yet it was left by the Muslim chaplains on library bookshelves where inmates were free to come and peruse it, The Times has reported.
Lack of scrutiny inside the jails paired with weak corporate guidance meant that there was very little or even no assessment of the material before it was released to “impressionable minds”, the leaked report said.
And it found that the chaplains at several jails had been encouraging inmates to raise funds for Islamic charities with links to extremist organisations and international terrorism, warning that failings at senior levels within the prison service had created a breeding ground for Islamic radicalisation.
Others of Britain’s approximately 100 Muslim chaplains were unaware of their statutory duty to prevent inmates being drawn into extremism, or were under-equipped to take on counter-radicalisation work “sometimes because they lacked the capability but often because they didn’t have the will”.
The report comes just days after some high security prisons were found to have ‘Sharia blocks,’ where former terrorists and Islamic extremists were taking over and imposing Sharia law on non-Muslim inmates.
Overall, it is said to have “pulled no punches”, taking to task the National Offender Management Service (Noms), the Ministry of Justice executive body that oversees prisons.
“Nobody there has been brave enough to confront and tackle this pernicious ideology,” a Whitehall insider said.
The review, led by a former senior Home Office official and ordered by Justice Secretary Michael Gove, has not yet been released as it is still awaiting clearance from No 10. A summarised version was due to be released last month but has been postponed.
For the last 13 years the process for appointing Muslim chaplains has been overseen by Ahtsham Ali, the prison service’s Muslim adviser. He has previously held senior roles in British organisations with strong links to India’s Jamaat-e-Islami movement, founded by the Islamist theologist Abul Ala Maududi.
Yet despite the report’s findings, Michael Spurr, Noms chief executive, has issued a letter insisting that Mr Ali retained the confidence and support of the organisation.
Meanwhile concern is growing regarding the over-representation within the prison service of chaplains drawn from the Deobandi sect, another Islamic sect founded in India, and the influence they may have on the 12,328 Muslim inmates held in English and Welsh jails, particularly the 1,000 deemed vulnerable to radicalisation.
The Deobandis are the largest sect in the UK, controlling 600 of the UK’s 1,500 mosques, the majority of Britain’s Muslim schools, and turning out 80 percent of all domestically trained scholars. 70 percent of Muslim prison chaplains were trained in Deobandi seminaries.
But although it claims to be moderate, it has hosted the hate preachers who trained the 9/11 bombers, while its schools have been caught disseminating anti-Semitic and misogynistic literature. An offshoot, the slightly more hard-line Tablighi Jamaat, has been described by some as an “Army of Darkness”.