In an authoritative report, Quilliam, a think tank funded by the Home Office, claims “mismanagement” by the Prison Service is helping AlQaeda gain recruits and risks “strengthening jihadist movements”.
Abu Qatada, described by MI5 as “Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe”, has published fatwas — religious rulings — on the internet from Long Lartin prison, in Worcestershire, calling for holy war and the murder of moderate Muslims, it reveals.
Abu Doha — said to be Al-Qaeda’s main recruiter in Europe — has taken courses in Belmarsh prison, south London, enabling him to mentor other inmates.
Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, shadow security minister, said prisons risked becoming “incubators of extremism”.
Qatada, a radical Islamist cleric who is wanted on terrorism charges in Jordan, is held in the the “supermax” segregation wing of Long Lartin. Built at the height of the IRA’s bombing campaign and designed to house dangerous inmates, it should be one of the most secure buildings in the country.
Like other jailed terrorist leaders, Qatada is meant to be cut off from his supporters outside. Yet it is said that last year, under the noses of warders, Qatada and Adel Abdel Bary, leader of the UK branch of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, were able to smuggle out a series of fatwas legitimising attacks by AlQaeda and endorsing the murder of moderate Muslims.
Qatada and Bary are two of about 100 Islamist terrorists in UK prisons. Many are held in supposedly top-security jails such as Belmarsh, Frankland in Co Durham and Woodhill in Milton Keynes, for inciting or plotting attacks in which hundreds of people could have died.
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