Authorities ignored warnings about radical Jihadi ‘death to gays’ pamphlets in UK prisons
UK justice officials have been accused of ignoring warnings about extremist material being used to radicalise inmates in British prisons.
Former Home Office official and prison governor Ian Acheson had raised concern about some of the materials distributed by imams and prison chaplains while compiling a report on radicalisation behind bars.
Acheson’s inspectors found extremist Islamic materials in nine of the 11 prisons inspected, and The Times reports that he first flagged urgent concerns about the literature in November 2015.
In April, the contents of Mr Acheson’s report were widely reported – with warnings that government-appointed prison chaplains have routinely distributed homophobic literature to prisoners.
But the National Offender Management Service did not act to order the books removed from prisons until June 20 – more than seven months after initial warnings about the issue.
One of the books now banned is Muslim Brotherhood chief Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s The Lawful and Prohibited in Islam, used to stir ‘death to gays’ sentiment among Jihadis.
It says: “Islam has prohibited the sexual deviation known as homosexuality. The spread of this depraved practice in a society disrupts its natural life pattern and makes those who practise it slaves to their lusts, depriving them of decent taste, decent morals and a decent manner of living.
“The jurists of Islam have held differing opinions concerning the punishment for this abominable practice.
“Should both the active and passive participants be put to death? While such punishments may seem cruel, they have been suggested to maintain the purity of the Islamic society.”
Another banned book claim: “The Jews are behind materialism, animal sexuality, the destruction of the family and the dissolution of society.
“The establishing of the dominion of God… cannot be achieved only through preaching. Anyone who understands this particular character of this religion will also understand the place of Jihad bis saif.”
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Mr Acheson told a Parliamentary committee: “In prison chaplaincies, we found numerous examples of religious literature that was extremist in nature and that sometimes contained sectarian, homophobic and incendiary information. It was freely available to vulnerable prisoners in many prisons, with no obvious control over it.”
He told the BBC: “I made it clear to the Ministry of Justice last November that… my assumption was that urgent action will be taken to remove these materials.
“Their free access to vulnerable and suggestible prisoners is an obvious security risk.”
An MoJ spokesperson said: “The justice secretary commissioned the first ever review of Islamist extremism in prisons.
“As part of this review, these texts were identified as containing extremist material and targeted for removal.
“The new justice secretary will now work closely with the Home Office and other agencies to tackle the important issue of Islamist extremism in prisons.”