Jailed terrorists fake UK deradicalization schemes to gain early release: Report

Prisoners jailed for terror offences in the UK are pretending to have been deradicalized by rehabilitation programs, a report from King’s College London has revealed. (AFP/File Photo)
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Updated 24 July 2020

Jailed terrorists fake UK deradicalization schemes to gain early release: Report

  • International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) said the practice was becoming more widespread in UK prisons

LONDON: Prisoners jailed for terror offences in the UK are pretending to have been deradicalized by rehabilitation programs, a report has revealed.

By using what experts called “false compliance,” inmates who deceived officials into believing they had reformed, posed more of a risk once released from jail, the King’s College London study claimed.

The university’s International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) said the practice was becoming more widespread in UK prisons.

Its report found that extremists, especially those who used Islam as their motivation for terror, viewed time spent behind bars as a “test of commitment” to their cause and actively looked to avoid suspicion from authorities during their sentence in order to speed up release.

“This can be a major issue in relation to risk assessment and release arrangements,” the report added.

The latest findings backed up claims made in January by psychologist Christopher Dean that terrorists might not be “cured” by prison deradicalization programs.

Dean designed the healthy identity intervention (HII) course which London Bridge attacker Usman Khan attended before his release.

Khan, 28, was a convicted terrorist and took part in a number of prisoner reform schemes, but upon release killed two people at a conference on rehabilitation at Fishmongers’ Hall on London Bridge in November 2019.

Sudesh Amman, 20, released from jail on license after serving a prison sentence for offences related to terrorism, was shot dead after stabbing two people in southeast London in February.

Dean told The Independent newspaper that his HII program aimed to “make individuals less willing to commit offences on behalf of a violent extremist group, cause, or ideology.

“Sometimes people move up two rungs, sometimes individuals may say, ‘I’ve had my doubts about this or that,’ and they may be willing to speak to people, but equally they may go down rungs as well.

“They may come into contact with individuals, they may go through a spell in life where they may feel, let’s say, aggrieved again, where they may begin to re-engage with groups or causes or ideologies associated with their offending behavior,” he added.

A counter-terrorism bill passed a third reading in the UK’s parliament on Tuesday and will give authorities more powers to test the effectiveness of deradicalization programs, including lie-detector tests to determine if a prisoner has truly reformed before release.

According to the ICSR report, the UK’S terrorist prison population has doubled since the rise of Daesh in 2014 and now stands at 238, with another 200 said to be a “terrorist risk.”


Muslim woman accuses McDonald's franchisee of discrimination

Updated 22 min 9 sec ago

Muslim woman accuses McDonald's franchisee of discrimination

  • The general manager prohibited Powell from praying in a quiet spot at the airport
  • He told her to to pray in a dirty stock room instead

SILVER SPRING: A Muslim woman who worked for a McDonald’s franchisee in Maryland claims managers and co-workers sexually harassed her and subjected her to religious discrimination after she converted to Islam.
Diamond Powell, 28, of Baltimore, sued her former employer, Susdewitt Management LLC of Lanham, Maryland, on Thursday with the backing of attorneys from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group.
The Morgan State University graduate was Christian in 2016 when she started working for the company, which operated two McDonald’s locations at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Powell converted to Islam in February 2017 and began wearing a hijab, a religious head covering, to work.
A manager told her to “take that hoodie off” her head while another manager told her, “You don’t have to wait for God to wake up for you to pray,” Powell’s federal lawsuit alleges.
Powell has a religious belief that she must pray five times a day at prescribed times. A general manager initially granted Powell’s request to take short prayer breaks during her shifts, according to her lawsuit.
“Her prayer breaks lasted no longer than a typical bathroom break,” the suit says.
But the general manager prohibited Powell from praying in a quiet spot at the airport and instead told her to pray in a dirty stock room, the lawsuit alleges. After Powell continued praying outside the restaurant, the general manager eventually revoked her request to take a prayer break, saying, “God will understand,” according to the lawsuit.
“By doing so, the general manager forced Powell to choose between continuing her employment with McDonald’s or sacrificing her sincerely-held religious beliefs,” the suit says.
Powell resigned from the job in April 2018. Her suit accuses Susdewitt Management of violating the Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Susdewitt Management owner Isaac Green disputed the lawsuit’s “characterizations” but said the company is reviewing Powell’s allegations and will “respond accordingly.”
“We pride ourselves on our diverse workforce, and we have policies in place to provide a welcoming workplace and to respect the accommodations employees may need for religious reasons,” Green said in a statement provided by a McDonald’s corporate spokeswoman.
The suit also claims Powell was sexually harassed at work, with several managers and co-workers asking her if she was a virgin and a shift manager making sexually explicit remarks.
“No Muslim woman should ever, ever experience what I went through, and I hope this lawsuit will help other Muslim women,” Powell said Thursday during an online news conference with her attorneys.
Zainab Chaudry, director of CAIR's Maryland office, said the group has seen an uptick in the number of incidents in which Muslims have experienced hostile work environments because of their faith.
“Unfortunately, this disturbing case is a glaring reminder of the challenges that Muslim employees often face within the workplace,” she said.