This is a guest post by a former Muslim prison chaplain
We’ve previously written about the controversial NOMS Muslim Advisor Ahtsham Ali and his links to Islamist extremism, and exposed his policy of recruiting hard-line anti-Western Imams for prisons. Today the following article appeared in The Sunday Times:
A government adviser on Islam faces having to leave his post after authorising the recruitment of about 140 prison imams who hold anti-British views.
An independent review into the role of Ahtsham Ali, the Muslim adviser to the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), has found that he oversaw the appointment of prison imams who have studied Deobandi Islam, a hardline Sunni interpretation of Islamic scripture contrary to British values and human rights.
Deobandi Islam, which developed in India in the 19th century as a reaction against British colonialism, also forbids music and promotes gender segregation.
Whitehall officials confirmed that the NOMS, an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), was considering Ali’s role in the wake of findings that about 70% of the imams whose recruitment he had overseen were Deobandis.
“It is very worrying that imams with anti-British values are preaching in prisons at a time when Islamist radicalisation in prison is a growing problem,” a source said.
“And Ali, by his own admission, has been responsible for recruiting such Imams,”
Ali told the home affairs parliamentary committee in 2011 that he was responsible for “all recruitment for employed Muslim chaplains”.
The MOJ and Ali declined to comment but a friend of the NOMS advisor told The Sunday Times: “Ahtsham doesn’t follow any particular denomination; he studied Islam at length but he does follow any particular viewpoint.”
Questions over Ali’s future role with NOMS coincide with the completion of a second independent review into Islamist extremism in prisons commissioned by Michael Gove, the justice secretary. The review, which was conducted by Ian Acheson, a former Home Office official, is understood to recommend better monitoring of prisoners who had been convicted of terrorism-related offences to reduce radicalisation.
“Acheson will recommend that better monitoring and profiling of such prisoners should be put in place, ” said a source.
According to the MOJ there were 12,622 Muslim inmates in September last year, representing 10.8% of the prison population.
(Source: The Sunday Times)
Despite a claim by a ‘friend’ of Ali (which is most likely Ali himself) that he doesn’t follow any particular denomination, it has now come to light that he doesn’t even consider Wahabism and Salafism (the most extremist and violent form of Islam) to be violent. In a talk Ali gave in 2011 he stated the following:
“Salafism and Wahabism at its core is not violent”
Either Ali doesn’t know anything about Salafism and Wahabism (highly unlikely) or he is deliberately misleading people. If Ali considers rigid, narrow, fundamentalist and literal forms of Islam to be non-violent then he is of even bigger concern and must be removed from his role immediately! Wahabism and Salafism are anti-women (a women must be covered from head to toe and cannot leave her house without her husband’s permission), anti-Semitic, calls for the deaths of homosexuals and apostates, considers Jews and Christians to be pigs and also calls for a violent jihad against ‘innovators’ (read Sufi and Shia muslims). If this is not violent then I don’t know what is!
In 2008, Mr Ali was making the case that Muslim sex offenders shouldn’t attend rehabilitation classes because “there is a legitimate Islamic opinion” which stops sex offenders from talking about their crimes. Is this guy for real? I wonder which ‘legitimate Islamic opinion’ the sex offenders were following when they were committing their crimes ! There are also ‘legitimate’ Islamic opinions which call for violent jihad against non-Muslims. It’s a disgrace that the prison service employs people like Mr Ali who use religion to oppose corrective measures and promote Muslim exceptionalism.
Once again our government needs to consider whether a man with such views is really fit to be a senior public servant. Despite numerous concerns being raised over the years, NOMS doesn’t appear to have been interested in taking any action against Mr Ali (perhaps because they’ve been complicit in promoting him and fear that he could take them down with him). We really do hope that, for the sake of our country, NOMS and MOJ do finally decide to intervene and stop this man from promoting anymore dangerous extremist nonsense in prisons.
We will again be asking questions and raising our concerns further as violent extremism and anti-Western propaganda is far too important an issue to ignore.