A new report by Quilliam Foundation claims that British prisons are at risk of becoming incubators for radical Islamism unless measures are put in place to counter recruitment there.
According to the report, prepared by foundation staffer James Brandon, British prisons hold close to 100 people convicted or detained for terror-related causes. These include persons such as Abu Qatada, described by the British intelligence agency MI5 as "Osama Bin Laden's right-hand man in Europe."
Even though he is in the "supermax" segregation wing of a British prison, Qatada has been able to issue fatwas on the Internet calling for holy war and the murder of moderate Muslims. Last year, Qatada and Adel Abdel Bary, leader of the British branch of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, were able to smuggle out of prison fatwas supporting Al Qaeda attacks.
No less troubling is the fact that those inmates convicted or suspected of terrorism are recruiting a new generation of terrorists while behind bars. Using eyewitness accounts and official inspection reports, Quilliam found that leading Islamists are frequently "empowered" by prison staff who treat them as representatives of Muslim inmates. They use this authority to inflame their followers on the Internet and give television interviews advocating jihad. In some cases they use their power to intimidate fellow inmates into conversion.
Read the report here.