[Examiner] In a disturbing report from a British prison guard organization on Sunday, convicted felons in the United Kingdom are being forcibly proselytized by radical Islamists who are their fellow inmates.
The Prisoner Officers Association, the group representing Britain’s correction officers, claims gangs of Muslims increasing “their power and influence inside UK jails,” and there are concerns with some converts becoming radicalized by Islamic extremists within the UK prison system.
According to a 2011 report from the U.S. House of Representatives, “The prison population is vulnerable to radicalization by the same agents responsible for radicalizing… outside of the prison walls. Despite appearances, prison walls are porous.”
“It is easy for outside influences to access those on the inside, and for inmates to reach from the inside out. Individuals and groups that subscribe to radical, and sometimes violent, ideology have made sustained efforts over several decades to target inmates for indoctrination. Some of these groups act as the certifying bodies responsible for hiring imams into the prison system, thus affording them continuous access to the prison population. In addition, the cycle of radicalization continues through post‐release programs.”
Fox News Channel’s sister station in Britain, Sky News, interviewed a British female source who spoke anonymously with reporters. She asserted that her imprisoned brother was targeted by a gang of Islamists who attempted to covert him to Islam through threats and duress.
She told Sky News that the “bullying had even taken the form of physical assaults, leaving him with black eyes, and once being threatened with a knife.”
She also told Sky News that “he just looks like a broken man… he’s tearful on visits. I’m just really scared for him.” “He’s not going to back down. He’s not going to convert for anyone,” she added.
While UK justice officials concede that there are forced conversions occurring in UK prisons, they claim they are not aware of how far-reaching the problem of aggressive proselytizing is within prisons and detention facilities.
One former prison officer, Joe Chapman, told the London newspaper The Mirror that he thought it could be a “huge problem.”
Chapman alleged that those inmates who weren’t Muslims before being imprisoned have been targeted when they are locked up. Meanwhile, those convicts who are already Muslims are subjected to more radical ideas and dogma.
According to the Sky News report, while Muslims make up about 5% of the general population in England and Wales, 13% of the prison population are Muslim. There are 11,200 Muslims currently incarcerated in those prisons.