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Published:May 25th, 2008 09:20 EST
British Prisons Taken Over by Muslims

British Prisons Taken Over by Muslims

By Krzys Wasilewski

Muslim gangs have taken control of one of Britain's maximum security prisons, the Observer informs on Sunday. In a report obtained by the weekly, security authorities alarm that the groups not only harass other inmates but also threaten the prison's staff.

In Whitemoor, a high-security prison located in Cambridgeshire, one third of all the convicts are Muslims. Rather than a religious group, however, they form violent gangs that effectively control the unity as the staff prefers not to interfere in internal affairs, fearing themselves becoming a target. The Observer quotes the report as saying: “The sheer numbers, coupled with a lack of awareness among staff, appeared to be engendering fear and handing control to the prisoners.” Instead, writes the weekly, the prison guards only warn white inmates to stay away from the Muslims.

Whitemoor faces yet another problem. According to the report, the prison guards refuse to contain Muslim gangs as some of their colleagues have already been charged with racism by ever-stronger Islamic organizations in Great Britain. “Staff appeared reluctant to challenge inappropriate behavior, in particular among BME [black and ethnic minority] prisoners for fear of doing the wrong thing,” reads the report. Only in the past year, five prisoners of Whitemoor were killed by their cell mates with more and more white convicts hurting themselves to get into the prison hospital and avoid the Muslim gangs.

Even before the report was released, security authorities had made some efforts to restore safety to British prisons. Among them were stricter control of the literature that prisoners received as some of the confiscated books contained inflammatory passages. Also guards were educated in Islamic customs and tradition in order to make them more sensitive to the needs of Muslim prisoners. “A program of work is planned at Whitemoor to increase mutual understanding between staff and prisoners, including a development day for staff on the Muslim faith,” a Ministry of Justice official told the Observer.

The growing number of immigrants from Northern Africa has challenged not only Great Britain but the entire European Union. Some 13 million Muslims live in western Europe; France alone hosts almost half of this number. Although some of them have accepted western standards and culture, many Muslims born in Europe have become even more radical in their religious and social beliefs than their parents from Algeria, Morocco or Tunisia. In 2005 Muslim youth from the poor suburbs of Paris attacked the metropolitan police and began a low-scale uprising that the central authorities had to quell with force.


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