Convicted Terrorists Lead Religious Services In Federal Prisons: IG
by Fred Lucas
Convicted terrorists – some associated with al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and Al-Shabaab – were allowed to lead religious services in federal prisons because of a shortage of chaplains, according to a recent inspector general report evaluating the Bureau of Prisons.
Moreover, the bureau’s internal watchdog found prison officials had little oversight of what was being said or taught during some of the inmate-led religious services.
The July inspector general report said that convicted terrorists led religious services in four of 12 federal prison facilities that were part of the evaluation. At one prison, terrorist inmates led religious services even though the BOP hired a contract faith provider, because the inmates had disagreements with the contractors, the report says.
"At another one of these facilities we found that an al-Qaeda affiliated inmate, who was convicted on terrorism charges, was permitted to lead services on a frequent basis," the IG report notes. "The facility’s chaplain explained that the inmate was selected to lead services by the other inmate faith group members due to his extensive faith knowledge and Arabic fluency."
"At two other facilities we learned that inmates with ties to two prominent terrorist groups, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Al-Shabaab were permitted to lead services, with at least one doing so on a regular basis at this facility," the report continues.
The investigation found inadequate monitoring of the inmate-led services.