Prison has long been a priority for Islamic supremacists. Broken, violent men are a prime target for conversion. Hardcore recruiting for Islamic jihad has been going on in the prisons for years and is well documented.

Exclusive-access-inside-Full-Sutton-Maximum-Security-Prison-1916559Mark Silverberg wrote:

The Saudís also have a special program aimed at converting blacks in prison. In a well-documented June 2002 article in the Washington Times, Cal Thomas noted that the program is funded by Saudi Arabian money through the National Islamic Prison Foundation, which underwrites a "prison outreach" program designed to convert large numbers of African-American inmates not only to Wahhabism, but to its political objectives -- including virulent anti-Americanism.

The Wall Street Journal (February 5, 2003) also confirmed that Wahhabism is making serious inroads into the black population of American prisons. It quoted a New York-based Wahhabi imam, Warith Deen Umar (who until his retirement in 2000 helped run New York's growing Islamic prison program by recruiting and training dozens of chaplains and ministering to thousands of inmates himself), as saying:

The 9/11 hijackers should be honored as martyrs. The U.S. risks further terrorism attacks because it oppresses Muslims around the world. Without justice, there will be warfare, and it can come to this country too."  More here

The Free Republic here:

In the French prisons there is a whole network of extremist Muslims, who use their time in prison to find new recruits. That was in a report by the French secret service (RG). The ones who convert to Islam are dangerously fanatic, so says the report.

Cal Thomas wrote this here:

The mail brings a letter from a self-identified African-American prison inmate (several of the same type have arrived since Sept. 11). He predicts Islam will take over the world and America's days are numbered. This man is one of many converts to radical Islam under a program indirectly funded by Saudi Arabian money through the National Islamic Prison Foundation, which underwrites a "prison outreach" program.

Jihadwatch wrote this back in January 2004:

"Al Qaida continues to recruit members in U.S. prisons despite a government crackdown, FBI officials told a congressional panel." This from the World Tribune.

"U.S. officials said Al Qaida's recruitment has been facilitated by Muslim clergy with access to federal and state prisons. They said the organization has succeeded in winning new members despite tighter rules instituted by authorities since the Al Qaida suicide attacks in September 2001

They use violent means to force conversions. Today's SKY News:

"Inmates Bullied Into Converting To Islam" By Mark White, Home Affairs Correspondent

Sky News has learned that increasing numbers of British inmates are being bullied into converting to Islam while in jail.

The Prison Officers Association says it is symptomatic of the growing power and influence of Muslim gangs in prison.

However, there are also concerns that some of those converts could be radicalized by more extremist elements in prison.

Sky News spoke to one young woman who said her brother was being bullied by members of a Muslim gang, who were trying to force him into converting to Islam.

The woman did not want to be identified for fear of reprisals against her brother, who is serving a sentence in excess of 10 years in a high security prison in England.

She said: "He just looks like a broken man ... he's tearful on visits. I'm just really scared for him."

She also claimed the bullying had taken a more violent turn: "He's been physically assaulted. He's had black eyes. 

"In the showers, he got threatened with a knife. He's not going to back down. He's not going to convert for anyone."

She added: "He just spends his time in hiding in his cell. He's got at least another five years to serve. I don't know how much longer he can hold out."

Official sources acknowledge forced conversions are a problem in the country's prisons.

How large the problem is remains unclear, as inmates are often afraid to report such intimidation for fear of reprisals.

Joe Chapman, a former prison officer who now acts as a prison law consultant, believes the problem is on the increase.

"I think it could be a huge problem. Previously I'd probably only worked in about a dozen or so prisons as an officer," Mr Chapman said.

"But this job takes me to 40 or 50 over the year, throughout the country. It's become obvious to me that it's a growing problem.

"About half a dozen of my clients have directly reported problems with being forced to convert ... those that weren't Muslim when they came in and those that were and have been forced to look at more radical ideas about their faith."

It is the potential route to extremism that will be of most concern to the authorities.

There is no automatic pathway but Jihadist groups do focus on the vulnerable - and new converts in the prison environment offer them a captive audience.

Former Home Secretary Lord Reid told Sky News: "When they arrive in prison, inmates often feel isolated, lacking in identity. 

"They don't have family groups and kinships around them. On top of that, very often there's a need for protection, a feeling that you've arrived in prison, you're on your own but there are people who appear like you, who give you a set of beliefs but also the protection of being in a gang. 

"It is a very, very fertile ground for recruitment and proselytization and radicalization in prison."

There are currently around 11,200 Muslims in prison in England and Wales.

That figure is about 13% of the total prison population and is far higher than in the wider community, where Muslims make up less than 5% of the population.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: "Faith can have a very positive influence on prisoners and can play an important role in rehabilitation, but it must never be misused as a way of coercing vulnerable prisoners into criminal behavior.

'We are never complacent about bullying in prisons and take a zero tolerance approach to tackling victimization of any kind."

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