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Are British Prisons A 'Terrorist Breeding Ground'?

UK up in arms after survey reveals Islamists radicalizing prisoners from the inside, Al Qaeda literature found in cells.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 3/30/2014, 11:48 AM

Muslim prayer in prison (file)
Muslim prayer in prison (file)
Flash90

Concerns were raised Sunday over startling statistics which reveal that the number of Muslim prisoners in British prisons has doubled over the past decade. Figures from UK's Ministry of Justice show that the number has ballooned to 11,729 (14%) - up from just 5,502 (7.7%) in 2002 - according to the Independent, and accounts for over one-seventh of all British inmates. The rate is expected to continue rising rapidly because of the large numbers of Muslim teenagers in youth jails - as well as aggressive attempts by Islamist prisoners to recruit and convert other convicts.

Whitemoor, a high-security prison, has caused particular concern, after it was revealed that 210 of Britain's most dangerous offenders there are Muslim - and that attempts to radicalize other prisoners to become Islamists are on the rise. Belmarsh prison, where the terrorists who butchered soldier Lee Rigby last year are being held, has also been the focus of an internal investigation. 

Many Muslim inmates at Whitmoor have left as “fully signed-up members of Al Qaeda," sources told the Daily Mirror Friday.

Staff reported in 2008 that they felt "fear" from their own inmates and that other prisoners were being targeted for not being Muslim.

One inmate reported that Muslim cellmates had harassed him, saying “your wife is burning in hell because she’s not a Muslim”.

​Whitmoor inmates are also being inundated with Al Qaeda literature, a 2012 report revealed, with leaflets being left on other beds saying "read this." 

At Belmarsh, at least once incident of an inmate being recruited for the global terror organization has been reported. The prisoner said he was persuaded by the radical Jamaican-born preacher Abdullah al-Faisal to become a suicide bomber just three days after being admitted to the facility; upon his release, he immediately boarded a plane and flew to Yemen for jihadist training. 

Fingers are now being pointed at the Ministry of Justice itself for allowing the radical population there to grow - despite "repeated warnings" that the prison is a “Taliban recruiting ground." 

“It is astonishing and a huge concern that one in seven prisoners is Muslim," Justice Secretary Shadiq Khan told the Independent. "This is compared to just one in 20 of the population." He added that the government's “complacency [on the issue] is breathtaking." 

Al Qaeda has been focusing extensively on recruiting Westerners in their Islamic holy war, and the news surfaces just months after eyewitness accounts confirmed that it is training Western nationals in Syria to bring fundamentalist Islam - and terrorism - back home with them. 

​Britain has been a particular favorite among Al Qaeda recruiters. 

The Daily Mail reported in December that Al Qaeda officials have been suspected of reaching out specifically to British university graduates. Video footage which surfaced in December revealed that the young graduates fighting in Syria hail from all sectors of society and from cities throughout the UK.

Britain's Muslim women have also been joining the rebel forces - marrying Islamists in the name of a global Jihad - as revealed last year.