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Muslim gangs orchestrate violence in three English prisons, a study reveals

Muslim gangs, created for criminal purposes, are reported to carry out violence in three English prisons. According to a new study published by the UK Justice Ministry, these gangs are structured groups with defined membership roles.

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A small number of prisoners within a group of Muslim inmates held in three High Security prison in England is reportedly operating as a criminal gang, a UK Justice Ministry report has found.

The survey, based on a series of interviews, revealed that Muslim gangs in UK prisons are formed for criminal purposes «under the guise of religion» and were reported to «cause a significant management issue» at the three establishments aforementioned.

«Violence, bullying and intimidation were prevalent with the gang, using religion as an excuse to victimize others», the authors of the study found out.

According to the findings of the study, Muslim gangs, are responsible for the «circulation of the majority of contraband goods in the establishments» where they operate. They also reveal that newcomers are motivated to join the gang for reasons related to «criminality, safety, fear, protection and power».

Structured gangs with defined membership roles

These gangs were described by responds as very structured groups with defined membership roles, having leaders, recruiters, enforces, followers and foot-soldiers.

Gangs’ leaders were reported to be born Muslim. «The gang has known leaders. This will be someone whose offence has validity. It could be for high profile terrorism… Prison converts wouldn’t have the legitimacy to become leaders», a prisoner told the researchers.

These gangs are reported to rely heavily on the work of recruiters, who approach vulnerable prisoners and newcomers. Recruiters' job is based on «coercion, pressure and, in some cases, violence to increase numbers», the study stressed.

A non-Muslim respondent told the researchers that recruiters «beat prisoners» that refuse to convert to Islam. «There is an underlying pressure for people to convert and join the gang. The tactic they use is to befriend someone when they come in. If they don’t convert they will then start spreading rumors about them, that the person is a snitch, so that they will be ostracized», said a prisoner, adding that «then the beatings will follow. Non-Muslim Prisoner.

The gangs’ followers and foot-soldiers are the ones entitled to «carry out violence» for the leaders and they are reported to be new converts. Enforcers, on the other hand, are gangs’ members who are expected «to ensure other gang members were following the autocratic rules of the leaders».

Leaving the gang is met with punishment and retaliation, including bullying, ostracizing and serious violence, the study revealed.

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