By Matthew Barrett
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Yesterday in Parliament, during questions on the Prevent counter-terrorism strategy (which Paul Goodman covered on ToryDiary yesterday), former Shadow Home Secretary David Davis highlighted the case of a Muslim prisoner who had witnessed extremist preaching in a "high-security prison":
"Mr David Davis (Haltemprice and Howden) (Con): I welcome wholeheartedly my right hon. Friend’s statement and comments, not least because a couple of weeks ago I received a letter from a Muslim inmate of one of our high-security prisons, in which he said:
‘Last week our prison service imam told us ‘not to believe western media’ in relation to the death of Usama bin Laden. The week prior to that the imam celebrated the escape of hundreds of Taliban prisoners from the Kabul jail. He went on to list equally inappropriate teachings by prison imams in a total of five prisons.
The Home Secretary is right to draw attention to the previous Government’s complacency over the issue. Will she give an undertaking that this will be put right and that we will not be able to say those things next year?"
In response, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, promised to work more closely with the prison service in order to stamp out extremism of the nature Mr Davis mentioned.
"Mrs May: I thank my right hon. Friend for bringing that letter to the attention of the House and, in doing so, raising a very important aspect of the work on which we wish to focus. There is a great deal more to be done in prisons, and a number of steps that we intend to take are set out in the Prevent strategy today. I should be very happy to receive a copy of that letter, if he feels able to share it with me, so that we can look at the specific allegations that have been made, but we intend to work more carefully with prisons, prison staff, the National Offender Management Service and those going into prisons to deal with individual prisoners in order to try to ensure that we do not see the sort of activity taking place that he has identified."