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Prisons failing to tackle extremism, claims Quillim Trust

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:15 05 October 2010

GOVERNMENT measures to stop Islamist radicalisation in prison are failing to halt the spread of jihad ideology, a report by a leading think tank' warns. Failure to tackle radicalisation risks creating a fresh wave of hardened extremists, the Quilliam Foundation claims

By Mike Brooke

GOVERNMENT measures to stop Islamist radicalisation in prison are failing to halt the spread of jihad ideology, a report by a leading think tank’ warns.

Failure to tackle radicalisation risks creating a fresh wave of hardened extremists willing to carry out terrorist violence, the Quilliam Foundation claims.

The findings are based largely on secret accounts of prison life smuggled out by extremists who are being empowered’ by the prison service, often seen by prison staff as go-betweens’ with ordinary Muslims.

Some are being allowed to lead Friday prayers and give mentoring courses that allow them to become spiritual advisors’ to other inmates.

Senior research fellow James Brandon, who compiled he report, said: “Islamist extremists are running rings round a prison service which often seems clueless about the nature of the threat.

“It is staggering that known extremists, with their accommodation and food provided by the State, are effectively radicalising other prisoners at taxpayers’ expense.

“It is time the Government considered creating a specialised de-radicalisation centre which can de-programme’ extremists, as in Egypt and Yemen.”

Staff failings are fuelling radicalisation because of “a widespread lack of understanding of mainstream Islam and radicalisation” which Quillim says has undermined Government efforts to tackle prison extremism.

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