News from a Congressional Research Service report that 50 “homegrown violent jihadists” are scheduled to be released in the United States between last January and the end of 2026 raises the obvious question of whether Americans have something to fear.
Among the incarcerated, according to the Bureau of Prisons, are 380 linked to international terrorism and 83 tied to domestic terrorism.
Unfortunately, more attention has been paid to incarcerating the jihadists than to what happens when they complete their sentences, the Associated Press noted in a story on the CRS report.
Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch, said the flaw in the nation’s approach to the global jihad threat is illustrated in how terrorists are classified.
“These jihadis have been treated as criminals, and since their sentences for criminal activity are ending, they are going to be released,” he said.
“But in fact, they are enemy combatants in an ongoing war, and the idea that they should be released onto the streets of the United States should be unthinkable, especially in light of the fact that absolutely nothing has been done or will be done while they’re in prison to disabuse them of their jihadist sentiments,” said Spencer.
To attempt to do that, he added, would be regarded as “Islamophobic.”
The British government, nevertheless, recently announced it has a plan to reform jihadists in prison.
The program will create “separation centers” where the convicted terrorists will be able to work on “positive personal goals” and meet together daily to “collaborate on expressing concerns and resolving disagreements.”
“In other words, group therapy for terrorists,” said a skeptical Patrick Dunleavy, an expert on Islamic radicalization in prisons.
London imam Anjem Choudary
“That does not sound like a strong deterrent to future radicalized terrorists or returning ISIS members bent on carrying out attacks on their homelands,” wrote Dunleavy for the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Dunleavy is the former deputy inspector general for New York State Department of Corrections and author of “The Fertile Soil of Jihad.” WND reported in April of an effort by Muslim activists to shut down his class on terrorism for the United States Military Special Operations School.
“Keep in mind that the type of inmates they are talking about include the likes of Michael Adebolajo, convicted in the brutal killing of British Army soldier Lee Rigby, and Anjem Choudary, the bigoted radical Islamic clergy who inspired countless attendees at his Finsbury Mosque to jihad, including ex-con ‘Shoe Bomber’ Richard Reid,” Dunleavy said.
Choudary was convicted of providing material support to ISIS.
A psychologist, a chaplain and a lawyer …
According to the British plan, the inmates progress would be monitored by a panel of experts, including a psychologist, a chaplain and lawyer.
Dunleavy said one of the problems with the panel is the inclusion of Islamic clergy who may not have been properly vetted.
He pointed out the presence of radical Islamic clergy in the U.S. prison system is well documented, citing to the recent case of Edwin Lemmons, who was arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force after having been radicalized in a New York State prison and traveling overseas for “underground tactical training.”
Despite clear evidence of extremist views, Dunleavy said, he was hired after his release from the Florida Bureau of Prisons by the Muslim Chaplains Services of Virginia to be an imam and Arabic instructor in Virginia prisons.
Dunleavy pointed out the number of violent terrorist attacks in the West carried out by people radicalized in prison is growing.
Three of the four Muslim terrorists sentenced to life in prison last week after being convicted of plotting attacks in the U.K. had already spent time in British prisons for terrorist-related crimes.
Dunleavy issued a warning regarding the release of prisoners in the United States for terrorism-related crimes in the coming years.
“We had better have a well-defined strategy in place to deal with them in prison and a more stringent supervised release program than currently exists,” he said.
“Simply asking them to develop ‘positive personal goals’ will not cut it.”