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Training for Jihad Inside Italian Prisons

Thursday, January 19, 2017 11:59
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Hat tip Gates of Vienna and Vlad Tepes

Europeans are finding out that just putting Muslim criminals and terrorists in prison doesn’t end the problem of jihad recruitment. Here is a troubling report from the Italian news outlet, Il Giornale, which describes how the radicalization process continues behind bars in Italy. Yours truly provided the translation for Vlad Tepes and Gates of Vienna.

Killers, Thieves and Terrorists: Here are the imams inside the prisons
The secret intelligence dossier on the Muslim prisoners in Italian penitentiaries: The names and the stories of the 26 most dangerous preachers. And some of them will be free within one year.
They are drug dealers, rookie terrorists, rapists and robbers. They are the so-called imams on whom the 7,646 Muslim prisoners in Italian prisons rely for prayers and religious practices. The disquieting blockbuster emerges from a secret document from our government, of which Il Giornale obtained a copy.
A dossier in which not only particulars and the origins of the 148 self-styled imams, in large part Moroccans, Tunisians, and Algerians, who control the prayers in Italian prisons, but also the details about how they are observed and described by operators of the prison authority.
The document, dated 11 October 2016, is one of the 11 “secrets” included in that report on “Combatting the violent radicalization in prison within the religious matrix”, prepared by the Department of Prison Administration and presented by Premier Paolo Gentiloni at a January 6 press conference on the spread of fundamentalism in penal institutions. In publishing the document, Il Giornale has decided not to divulge the details of all 148 imams because many of them, notwithstanding their convictions, are not deemed dangerous at the final (stage) of radicalization, and sometimes facilitate cooperation between the prison administration and the prisoners. The same cannot be said of at least 26 “bad mentors” who have come to the attention of Nic (Central Investigative Unit), the central investigative arm of the Prison Administration, which works with magistrates, police forces and secret services to identify the radicalized prisoners who proselytize inside the prisons, propagating violent and extremist themes.
In analyzing their positions, Nic specifies three levels of risks. The first, defined as “high”, include “monitored subjects”. The prisoners jailed for crimes connected to international terrorism are those of particular interest for their stances on radicalization and recruitment. At the “medium” level are placed prisoners who deserve attention, are close to the jihadist ideology and are active at the level of proselytizing and recruitment. The third “low” level includes the so-called “singled out”, all those on whom further study is done to see whether they should be placed in the first or second level or exempted from additional scrutiny. Among the 26 out of 148 imams investigated by Nic, fourteen are “monitored subjects” — at the level of maximum risk, eight “deserve attention” and four are “singled out”.
An extremely worrisome fact, because it tells us that within a prison system, where the risk of radicalization is high enough already, more than twenty prayer leaders close to Islamic terrorism continue to operate. Twenty persons to whom, notwithstanding their designations, are still allowed to engage in the activities of proselytizing and preaching.
To better understand what we are talking about, it is enough to cite Hmidi Saber, the 32-year-old Tunisian monitored by Nic, was served with a further arrest warrant in prison because he was suspected of ties to Anis Amri, the terrorist perpetrator of the massacre at the Berlin Christmas market, who was killed by police in Milan. In the document which is in our possession, the prisoner arrested for attempting to shoot at a police agent is identified as an imam in the Salerno prison coming from the prison of Sconsigliano. “The prisoner,” prison investigators write of him, “has exhibited problematic behavior indicative of an inadequate adaptation to the prison context since the date of his entrance in this locality.”
But among the self-styled imams there is also a presumed volunteer for the jihad like the 25-year-old Moroccan Hamil Mehdi, accused of training and activity for the purpose of terrorism. Detained in the prison of Rossano Calabro — the Italian Guantanamo, where suspected Islamic terrorists were collected up until a short time ago — Hamil Mehdi Mehdi was arrested at Cosenza in January 2016 after a trip to Turkey during which he tried to reach the area of Syria controlled by the Islamic State. Another prayer leader of a program that is at least problematic, monitored by Nic, is the Tunisian Lamjed Ben Kraiem. Arrested at Trapani in July 2013, accused of drug- and arms-trafficking, he was singled out by the prison police of Trapani for his capacity to conduct himself “in an evident manner as a spiritual guide leading prayers together with other prisoners and bunkmates”. Equally stunning is the metamorphosis of the 44-year-old Tunisian Ouerghi Nabil, singled out for his activities as imam in the prison of Piacenza. “ Upon his arrival at the institution,” the document reads, “he assumed the role of leader and organizer of requests in the name of the Islamic prisoners in his section, asking to create a collective prayer room for use twice a day.” The crime that put him in jail were the accusations of drug-dealing, and especially the rape of a 16-year-old girl.


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