Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ministers REFUSE to ban Muslim Friday prayers in jails

  • Calls for communal Friday prayers have been rejected by ministers
  • Ex-prison governor Ian Acheson wrote a report about extremism in jails
  • But the suggestion regarding prayers has been refused by ministers
  • Officials claim the new rule would disrupt the wider prison population
  • A prison expert said moving extremists between jails was a 'ghost train'
A report by former prison governor Ian Acheson (pictured) said extremists have been able to spread their poison behind bars for too long
A report by former prison governor Ian Acheson (pictured) said extremists have been able to spread their poison behind bars for too long
Calls for communal Friday prayers to be carried out in cells due to fears that some prisoners are being radicalised by extremists have been rejected by ministers.

Former prison governor, Ian Acheson, wrote a report which said terrorists have been able to spread their poison behind bars for far too long without intervention.  

And Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, backed the report and also called for Friday prayers to be carried out in cells instead of communally. 

He said: 'Friday prayers are putting immense pressure on the already pressed prison service.

'In France and Germany they do Friday prayers from their cells. 

'This report says we should do the same and there is no reason for the Government not to accept this recommendation.'

But the recommendation has been rejected by officials who fear the new rules would disrupt the wider jail population.

Officials were also worried the ban might even result in extremism and discontent within inmates, reports The Times

The Ministry of Justice has also rejected two other recommendations which relate to Islamist extremism within UK jails. 

The other suggestions included the appointment of an adviser on counter-terrorism in prisons and a review of the correspondence between prisoners and their lawyers. 

And the justice rejected the new plan for Friday prayers and added they do not believe it is the 'right course of action'.

The Ministry of Justice told the newspaper: 'We will ensure that governors use their existing powers to remove prisoners from corporate worship where they are behaving subversively or promoting beliefs that run counter to fundamental British values.

'We do not, however, believe it is the right course of action at present to alter the provision of worship more generally or to pursue in-cell alternatives.'

One prison source told the newspaper: 'There would be enormous political fallout as well as risks to the stability of prisons if Friday prayers were banned. 

'It would become an issue of us attacking religion, whatever faith was involved.'

Liz Truss, the justice secretary, said that preventing the 'most dangerous extremists from radicalising other prisoners is essential to the safe running of prisons'. 

Mr Acheson told the newspaper that he was 'very pleased' that the secretary of state has 'accepted the majority' of the review recommendations. 

Meanwhile, one prison expert called the movement of troublesome Islamic extremist inmates between jails a 'ghost train' approach.

it also comes as ministers warned that locking up extremist prisoners in special 'jihadi wings' will be akin to opening up a British Guantanamo Bay.

Isolating hate preachers and Islamist terror offenders in jails would also give them 'credibility', according to Mr Gillan.

It is understood that hate preacher Anjem Choudary will be held in the first special isolation wing for Muslim extremists at top-security HMP Frankland in Durham.

Choudary, 49, was convicted of terror offences last week. 

The firebrand cleric, who was found guilty of supporting Islamic State, will be sentenced next month.

HMP Frankland has been chosen because it has experience of dealing with the most dangerous terrorists. 

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