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.
Abu Hamza, jailed in 2006 for inciting murder, has preached radical sermons to followers using water pipes in his Belmarsh cell, and Rachid Ramda, the Algerian leader of the Paris Métro bomb plot, led Friday prayers in the same jail.
The path from prison radicalisation to full-scale terror plotting is well trodden. One petty criminal who turned to Islam while a teenage inmate was Muktar Said Ibrahim. He served time for indecent assault on a 15-year-old girl and mugging a 77-year-old woman at a Tube station. He graduated to terrorism via various radical London mosques and camps in Afghanistan and went on to lead the failed London bombings of July 21, 2005.
In October 2006, a Libyan detainee wanted in Italy on terrorism charges used telephone boxes in Long Lartin to speak live on an Islamic television channel. He compared British prisons with Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, where the American military abused Iraqi inmates.
In a rant designed to inflame followers into a hatred of Britain, he described the special immigration court that in effect sent him to jail without a jury trial as a “fascist court martial”. Qatada, a fellow inmate, went further. In a series of fatwas released in June 2008, he reflected on theological arguments legitimising the murder of Muslims who were opposed to Al-Qaeda.
The Quilliam report states: “He additionally described the police and army of Muslim majority countries opposed to Al-Qaeda as ‘kafirs and apostates’ — thereby also justifying jihadist attacks against them.”
Last March, in An Address to the Muslims, apparently smuggled out of his cell, Qatada equated the British government to pagans whom the prophet Muhammad fought and defeated.
Inspectors have separately warned of the rise of Muslim gangs whose leaders engage in violence and intimidation, sometimes forcing others to convert.
In Frankland prison in 2007 and 2008, Dhiren Barot, leader of the so-called “dirty bomb” plot against London, and Omar Khyam, who planned to attack London nightclubs and shopping centres with a fertiliser bomb, have been involved in a series of tit-for-tat attacks on other prisoners.
Violence partly fomented by the two extremists led to boiling water being thrown over prisoners, stabbings, arson attacks and attempts to wreck prison facilities.
The fact that the British authorities do not have a clue what they are doing is hardly news; however, I might be able to shed some light on how these fatwas are "smuggled out" - yesterday I pointed out that radical cleric Abu Hamza, currently detained in the most secure area of HMP Belmarsh, was given a £1,000 laptop by the prison service.
Paid for by the taxpayer, it was meant "to help him with appeals and legal research."
I wonder if they'll be taking that back now this has come to light?
Whatever happens, they are still running rings around themselves to make sure his stay at Her Majesty's pleasure is comfortable - today it was revealed that £650 has just been spent installing special taps in Hamza's cell, so he can operate them with his hook.
If all of the most dangerous Muslims in British prisons get treated like this, no wonder they have utter contempt for us and feel the need to brag about it far and wide.
Nice to see that, as always, Her Majesty's Government have their priorities right - and the British people and their safety are at the bottom of the list.