Video: Muslim gangs force Sharia law in UK prisons
Wed, 17 Mar 2010
Radical Muslim gangs are forcing a form of Sharia law on non-Muslim inmates in the nation’s prisons, according to a BBC investigation.
Muslim gangs force
Sharia law in UK prisons
A former prison officer from Long Lartin prison, a maximum security centre, told BBC Radio 5 Live about instances where non-Muslim inmates were beaten up and intimidated for breaking unofficial rules imposed by the Muslim gangs.
The officer, who wished to remain anonymous, also described how the gangs force younger prisoners to convert.
Speaking to the Donal MacIntyre programme she said: “I knew one lad quite well, who was approached by the radical Muslims and he changed. He was being controlled and bossed around and he wasn’t even allowed to look at me or speak to me.
“He just seemed very frightened all the time. He used to be forced to pray at certain times and he was even forced to grow a long beard even though he didn’t want to.”
The gangs routinely force non-Muslim inmates to stop playing western music, and prisoners at Long Lartin jail are not allowed to cook pork in case they offend Muslim inmates, according to the former officer.
The former prison officer also explained how a Roman Catholic inmate who refused to convert to Islam was severely beaten by gang members.
Describing the event she said: “He said every so often they would come to his cell and hold the Koran up through the small window in the cell door and start running their fingers along their throats”.
Malcolm Moss, chair of the Prison Officers Association, said: “We are seeing more and more Muslim gangs in our prisons. Often Muslims who go to prison are forced into gangs for their own protection.
“And that culture takes over a wing, takes over an area of the prison. We see it as a real danger, now and for the future of prisons.”
However, a statement from Ministry of Justice has dismissed the allegations.
A spokesman said: “It is ridiculous to suggest that any gang ‘controls’ a prison. The Prison Service has a wealth of experience in dealing with gang activity and managing prisoners who form gangs.”
Muslims currently account for twelve per cent of the prison population in England and Wales, amounting to 9,795 inmates.
Earlier this week it was revealed that a tiny but increasing number of non-Muslims are turning to Sharia courts to resolve civil disputes.
The Muslim Arbitration Tribunal (MAT) is reporting a 15% increase in the number of non-Muslims resorting to Islamic courts to settle commercial disputes this year.
Last year, over 20 non-Muslims opted to have their cases heard in a Sharia court.