Jailed Muslims a terrorist target in UK

Sunday Sun 

TERRORIST prisoners are recruiting gang members jailed in the North, it has been claimed. And now campaigners are calling on the Government to take urgent action to tackle the problem.

Groups, including the Prison Officers’ Association, POA, are concerned that young Muslims are becoming radicalised behind bars before returning home to Asian communities such as those in Middlesbrough and the west end of Newcastle.

The threat has been highlighted as a problem within all five of the UK’s high security prisons, including Frankland, in Durham — where al Qaida mastermind Dhiren Barot is held — and Full Sutton, in North Yorkshire.

And according to internal Ministry of Justice documents made public last week, there is “no intervention available to us to counter terrorist behaviour or to counter the threat of radicalisation”.

North Shields-born Colin Moses, head of the POA who has worked in several prisons across the region, said: “Where you have Muslims coming into North prisons from the likes of Middlesbrough and the west end of Newcastle, you get a growing number of them becoming radicalised. We’re seeing it happen.

“This is a problem which has been emerging for a while. Our prisons now hold more terrorists than anywhere else in Western Europe.

“We as a POA want radical action taken and want agreements on how we can eradicate this in our prisons.”

Kimmett Edgar, of the Prison Reform Trust, who studied prison research at Durham University in the 1980s, says he has seen a shift in the kind of radicalisation that has been present in prisons over the last two decades.

He said: “When I visited Frankland in 1985 there were concerns over extremism with IRA prisoners . . . the IRA no longer pose a threat and other organisations have come into the fore.

“There is a new worry about extremism and we don’t know enough about it.”

A spokesperson for the prison service admitted there was an “emerging picture, based on anecdotal intelligence, that suggests terrorists may be linking into gang activities”.

He added: “It is, however, recognised that this is an evolving and fluid picture. We will be working to further develop our medium and long-term strategy for the management of terrorists and gang-involved prisoners.

“The prison service is committed to delivering an extensive programme of work to tackle extremism in prison, and we actively work with partner agencies to manage issues around extremist prisoners.”

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