Political correctness in prisons is allowing extremism to flourish because guards are too afraid of confronting Muslims, a report has found.
A review into Islamist extremism in the British justice system has found that “cultural sensitivity” towards Muslim prisoners is preventing staff “challenging unacceptable extremist behaviour and views”.
The report, by Ian Acheson, a former prison governor, warns that supervising staff are being “pressured” to leave prayer rooms during collective worship.
Islamist prisoners are also attempting to prevent searches by “claiming dress is religious” and are also getting access to extremist literature that is available in chaplaincy libraries or from individual prisoners.
Mr Acheson’s report concluded that extremists are “exploiting…staff fear of being labelled racist”.
It also warned that “charismatic Islamist extremist prisoners [are] acting as self-styled ‘emirs’ and exerting a controlling and radicalising influence of the wider Muslim prison population”.
The Government has said that it will implement a number of the report’s recommendations.
Liz Truss, the Justice Secretary, has already announced that the most dangerous extremists will be locked up in isolated high-security prisons within prisons to prevent them from radicalising other inmates.
On Monday, she will also announce that governors and prison officers will be given new training to “prevent influential extremist prisoners exerting control and radicalising others”.
Scrutiny of the issue resurfaced last week when it was revealed that Anjem Choudary, one of Britain’s most prominent Islamist clerics, faces years in jail for drumming up support for Islamic State.
Choudary, one of the UK’s most notorious hate preachers, was convicted earlier this year. He will serve 10 years in jail after being found guilty of pledging allegiance to Islamic State.