Prison Da'awa, Prison Jihad

 News first:

Guantanamo Detainees                     Gitmo apes are treated like some kind of protected species…

Jihadism in European Prisons

Jihadists recruiting in prisons through aggressive indoctrination, refuse to cooperate with prison authorities

  • And — surprise of surprises! — “by wanting to avoid offending European Muslim ideologues, RAND offers an incomplete analysis.”

Right Side News / By Imaad Malik

Jihadists are radicalizing Muslims in prisons outside the U.S., in Europe and elsewhere, through aggressive indoctrination and recruitment. A new RAND Corporation report, “Radicalization or Rehabilitation: Understanding the Challenge of Extremist and Radicalized Prisoners,” cites prisons as a key venue for Islamist recruitment.
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a former inmate and mentor of the late al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia commander Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, describes jihadist tactics in prisons in the radical periodical Nida ul-Islam to include:

* Refusal to cooperate in the prison’s administrative regime, intimidating prison staff, and attacking guards.

* Using prison visits to communicate with followers in the outside world.

* Holding alternative Friday prayers to draw other prisoners away from the official prison services.

* Producing and distributing ideological literature within, and for dissemination beyond, the prison population.

The RAND report also notes that much of the literature on Islam in prison libraries is specifically Islamist. Fundamentalist authors like the 13th-century figure Ibn Taymiyya and the 20th-century writer Sayyid Qutb are prevalent and seem especially attractive to prison readers since these men spent time in jail themselves, making them sympathetic figures to these captive audiences in Europe’s prisons.

Governments are trying to counter the spread of Islamism in prisons. The RAND report assesses three programs in Singapore, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The religious rehabilitation group (RRG) in Singapore attempts to rehab arrested members of Jemaah Islamiya with counter-Islamist material produced by Islamic scholars and other experts. Moreover, relatives of inmates receive financial assistance and are counseled, while their children are provided with special education.

Saudi Arabia and Yemen also have programs for deradicalization of jihadist prisoners. Some of the problems these programs run into include the high risk that inmates will use their “successful” rehabilitation to obtain release and rejoin terrorist networks. The Yemeni program specifically has been challenged for weak results.

The questionable success of these programs is not an accident. RAND ignores analyzing elements inside and outside the Saudi establishment that finance radicalism while its government attempts to neutralize adherents of extremist doctrines. In such a situation, prison rehabilitation programs are being sabotaged by failures in their own governments, which use these programs for positive P.R. in the war against extremism without providing consistent results.

Another problem in the RAND report is that its review of Europe is too broad. By comparing the Islamist movement to the Basque ultranationalist Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) and the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA), RAND associates the Islamist global totalitarian religious movement with the grievances of local nationalist extremists. By wanting to avoid offending European Muslim ideologues, RAND offers an incomplete analysis.

Fighting prison jihadism requires an alliance between secular governments and moderate Muslim leaders who demand not only an end to violence but the supremacist ideology behind it. Such moderates call for separation of religious and government authority and the equality of all religions under secular law.

Center for Islamic Pluralism (CIP) reports include the 2008 “Black America, Prisons, and Radical Islam.”

“A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe 2007-2009” will be published by CIP on May 15, 2009.

Imaad Malik is the prison outreach director for the Center for Islamic Pluralism in Washington, D.C.

Update: from Jawa Report

Somali Pirates LOVE Prison

(Rotterdam, Netherlands) It is a real dilemma when the worst punishment to be imposed by a court just so happens to be exactly the same as the grandest dreams of a convict.

Therefore, it comes as little surprise that a lengthy term in a Dutch prison is preferred over life free in Somalia. Defense lawyer Willem-Jan Ausma said his client, a Somali on trial for piracy, is eager to enter prison.

“For the first time in his life he has access to a real toilet. For the first time in his life he is in a safe environment,” Ausma says about his Somali ‘pirate’ client. […] 

“But he intends to send for his wife and children as soon as he is released from prison. He knows he cannot easily be sent back to Somalia. He loves it here in the Netherlands.”

Ausma’s client, Yusuf, and four others have admitted their piracy. Their defense is that life is hard for poor Somali fishermen so, in desperation, they became pirates. The Somalis will seek the sympathy of the court.

One thought on “Prison Da'awa, Prison Jihad”

  1. Indonesia: Jihadists teaching jihad in prisons

    Islam, a work in progress. Too much is never enough:

    As we recently learned from the second round of Peter King’s hearings, it is the height of “Islamophobia” to suggest that jihadists are recruiting for the jihad in prisons. And yet here is evidence that it is happening in Indonesia; of course, it’s inconceivable that anything like this could be happening in prisons in the U.S. — right?

    “The Roots of Radicalism: Militants Teach Jihad in Indonesia’s Prisons,” by Emily Rauhala for Time Magazine, July 1:

    There’s a downside to jailing Jihadis: They corrupt your prisons. It’s a problem that’s keenly felt in Indonesia, where a decade-long crackdown on extremist groups has dramatically increased the number of radicals in jail. Terror experts have long worried about putting so many convicted terrorists in one place. Now, an investigation by the Associated Press confirms that doing time in Indonesian prisons gives extremists a chance to proselytize and plot.
    The agency spent two days inside Porong prison, near Surabaya, in June. During that time, they witnessed the extent to which convicted terrorists influenced other inmates. Part of the problem is over-crowding: One cell-block, Block F, is supposed to be reserved for extremists but houses 50 others .The Jihadis, who typically sport beards and distinctive clothing, are idolized by the rank-and-file. Many volunteer to preach, earning their trust. “We only explain what they should know about jihad,” said a man named Syamsuddin who is serving a life sentence for his role in a gun attack on a karaoke club. “It’s up to them whether to accept it or not.”

    Unfortunately, many do. Here’s a scene from Block F:

    Nearby, nine men wearing traditional Muslim shirts sit on a floor listening intently to a religious lesson by Maulana Yusuf Wibisono, who stockpiled explosives for a 2004 suicide bombing of the Australian embassy in Jakarta that killed 10 people.
    These men, part of the ordinary prison population, diligently copy what Wibisono writes on a small white board. “It’s still too early to invite them for jihad,” said the 42-year-old terrorist. He is the former leader of the East Java military wing of Jemaah Islamiyah, the group behind the 2002 Bali bombing. “To change their way of life is more important.”

    Many are in awe of the terrorists’ piety and dangerous reputations. Militants also get extra food and other goods, both from supporters and through police attempts at rehabilitation, adding to their sway in prison. Often bearded and clad in robes, sarongs or ankle pants, they stand out from the other inmates….

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