Muslim prison gangs are forcing inmates to convert to Islam and follow religious practices or face violent repercussions, according to a government report.
The report, carried out by the Ministry of Justice, surveyed 83 male prisoners and 73 staff at three of the eight high-security prisons in the country. It found that large gangs of Muslim men were using intimidation tactics to force conversions and rules on other prisoners. The gangs were made up of multiple ranks including leadership, foot soldiers, recruiters, and enforcers.
Those who had committed terrorist activities were said to hold key positions of influence among the gangs, as well as those who can speak Arabic and recite the Quran.
It was said that the gangs were establishing Islamic rules within the prisons such as underwear having to be worn in the showers and banning the cooking of bacon.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 18, 2015
The report highlighted the fact that Muslim gangs were the only serious organised gang threat within the prisons surveyed and that as a result, they wielded considerable influence and power over their fellow inmates.
One non-Muslim prisoner said: “There is an underlying pressure for people to convert and join the gang. The tactic they use is to befriend someone when they come in. If they don’t convert they will then start spreading rumours about them, that the person is a snitch so that they will be ostracised. Then the beatings will follow.”
Meanwhile, a Muslim prisoner spoke of the pressure on other inmates to convert, saying that they could not even escape by moving prisons. “They know they’re only going to three other jails and they know there will be brothers waiting there to stab them,” the prisoner said.
The study echoes a report from The Sun from 2016 which alleged that at one prison, HMP Gartree in Leicestershire, Muslim prisoners had turned sections of the prison into ‘no-go zones’ for non-Muslim inmates, even imposing sharia law.
One source said at the time: “It is so bad non-Muslim prisoners are refusing to move there as they feel intimidated. There is huge pressure put on them to convert and a threat of violence if they don’t. The Muslim gangs have their own rules and use Sharia law to sort out disagreements. In effect, they are setting up their own prison within a prison. There have been stories about non-Muslim inmates being barred from putting up topless pictures of women in their cells and even showering naked.”
‘Prisoners Forced to Convert to Islam for Protection’ Claims Christian Pastor https://t.co/qWhIHxoL9S
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 13, 2018
In 2018, the Ministry of Justice reportedly blocked an independent three-year report from being carried out into the impact of Islamic gangs in UK prisons because of fears of the results. One source said: “The corporate culture of the service is defensive and they will have been concerned about what this proposed project will discover.”
Last year, a Christian pastor who worked as a prison chaplain also claimed that prisoners were being coerced into converting to Islam in exchange for protection from gangs. Pastor Paul Song said of the culture in Brixton prison: “If someone is secular and in prison and they want to lead a peaceful life in prison they need to become Muslim. That way they are protected.”