The following is a letter to insidetime, from issue August 2010
A conference of the prison Muslim Chaplains Association was held at the Regents Park Mosque in London on 14 June.
Attended by over one hundred guests including the outgoing Director General of NOMS Phil Wheatley, his successor Michael Spurr and Lord Nazir Ahmed a patron of the MCA the audience were taken through the role of Muslim Chaplains within the Prison Service and the valuable role which they play in meeting the religious needs of Muslim prisoners.
It was unfortunate however that the guest speakers did not invite questions from the audience given the recent adverse media reports relating to the alleged radical activities in some prisons of Muslim prisoners intimidating non Muslims to convert to Islam.
Clearly, there are some non Muslims who might perceive there to be some benefits in aligning themselves with a radical form of Islam which is of concern to HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, Anne Owers as expressed in her recent report and is something which ought to have drawn a response from Muslim Chaplains and other Muslim dignitaries who attended the conference.
Following the presentations, I was able to approach the Muslim Chaplain of HM Prison Belmarsh and put to him the allegations which featured in Anne Owers report and the Times news report of the 8 June 2010 which highlighted the alleged problems of intimidation and bullying by Muslim prisoners of non Muslims.
Given that Belmarsh is allegedly a bedrock of radical Muslim prisoners, I thought that here was someone who was perhaps in a better position to answer my questions. Instead, I was told that the best person to answer them was Ahtsham Ali the NOMS Muslim Adviser at Prison Service Headquarters to whom I was then introduced.
Putting to him the serious allegations in the Chief Inspectors Report which was reported by the Times, Mr Ali avoided giving a clear and straight response instead asking me as a released lifer whether I had personally witnessed or experienced any such activity. I explained that in the all lifer prisons in which I had served my sentence there was an emphasis on progressing towards release and any concerns by staff of bullying or intimidation of any kind usually meant that the lifer would be transferred out to a prison of a higher security category which might mean in some cases serving extra years.
Mr Ali then suggested that I was in a better position to answer my own questions.
When I asked if he would allow me to quote him, he advised that I should refer to the press office at Headquarters making it clear that what he had said was ‘off the record’ and meanwhile I should read the BBCs Home Affairs reporter Mark Easton’s news report which is available on the internet for a more balanced view.
In an earlier presentation by Lord Nazir Ahmed, he related how he had once spent fourteen days in prison and witnessed the hostility of some prison officers towards Muslim prisoners and how with Lord Mostyn he had been instrumental in setting up the MCA going on to say that if prisoners are treated with respect they will change.
Michael Spurr the new Director General of NOMS in his address suggested that religious faith is part of the solution and not the problem and here I was expecting at least some response to the recent news reports but the opportunity was missed and it was left to me to seek out the one or two Muslim spokesmen I spoke to at the end of the presentations but it seems to me that its either too sensitive an issue or they would prefer it to be brushed under the carpet.
Comments about this letter
There are no comments, be the first to leave one!
Spread the word
Get Tough On Sentencing.
Prisoners right to vote – British Courts local claim
Prison Visits And Maintaining Family Ties
Adopting the political swerve.
Thank you wing staff
Wax Or Tax
Isn’t this an ‘exceptional circumstance’?
Accessibility to items
Who’s extracting the urine?
Probation hostels, sim cards & mobile phones
Call this protecting the public?
Current page: MUSLIM CHAPLAINS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
Politeness Costs Nothing
Investigatory Powers Tribunal
IPPs branded ‘inhumane’ and ‘grotesquely unfair’
IPP, If Your Face Fits
Roslyn Mary Runnette 1941-2010
October 2014 Headlines
Koestler Awards 2014
Police visit National Prison Radio
Parole Board Update
The right to work
Month by Month - October 2014
Inside without Faith
Justice Select Committee
The longest Journey
Our own version of Islam is being blocked, fettered and stonewalled
For the love of cooking
Prison compensation unfair?
The Merchant of Venice
Raising learners voices
Ryan’s Prehistoric Pet
From over the wall
Appeals against conviction - conduct of trial lawyers
The absurdity of the Absconders Policy
Finding your voice in the recall process
New! Volume 5 of
is now available!
A collection of poems by prisoners of all backgrounds.
Availabe to buy from this site! Volume 1,2,3 and 4 are also still available and you can SAVE by purchasing bundles!
The Useful Services for Prisoners scheme from insidetime provides discounts, vouchers and other benefits from USP Group Members for Prisoners, their families and legal advisors. Click the image above to read more about it.
You can subscribe to insidetime Newspaper and get the paper each month delivered to your door!
Advertise your business or solicitors office to a highly defined target audience.
Inside Time has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.
All contact info for the Operations office and the Editorial Team.
Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insidetime site.
We have a number of external websites which you may be interested on our Links Page.
Everything you need to know about visiting people in prison; procedures, opening times, directions etc.
Comprehensive information about each prison regime; lock down times, facilities, healthcare etc.
*NEW* Detailed information about IRC - Immigration Removal Centres.
Various pages of information for help and support organisations and networks for those in custody as well as recently released. Also information for friends and family.
This grants and funding pdf document aims to meet the need of prisoners and ex-offenders for accurate, up to date information on the supplementary funding available to prisoners.
Information on rules & regulations used throughout the prison service.
The Glossary of Prison Related Terms explains what all the acronyms and terms stand for with prison related matters. Includes links to external sites to further explain things.
We have produced many Prison Related Fact Sheets inc. Legal Fact Sheets, Parole Fact Sheets and Other related information.
You can search our solicitor database for listings of solicitors in your area that provide the services you require.
You can search our barrister database for listings of barristers in your area that provide the services you require.
You can search our address database in many ways to retrieve contact information for all those elusive addresses you need in a hurry.
This document provides details of leading training providers who offer sound professional training.
Inside Information has produced a number of books and publications you can purchase online.
Our site map page contains links to all pages on the insideinformation site.
Use the Contact Us Feedback form to send us suggestions, plus our address and phone numbers.
insidejustice was launched in July 2010 to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.
Full introduction is on the insidejustice homepage