Posts Tagged ‘Barot’

Building Bridges Or Building Reputation?

I attended a meeting called building bridges day, which was set up by various organisations. Mainly, HM Prison Service, NOMS (National Offender Management Service), MCA (Muslim Chaplains Association) which is aimed at communities working together to stop re-offending and to provide better services within the prison system. Many other different organisations, MP’s and volunteers attending and there were roughly three hundred people present at the meeting. I went with an open mind and my initial thoughts on this meeting were that it is an excellent attempt to bring together all the people that mattered and were capable of making a real difference and reflected sincerity on all parts. There were Imams from prisons involved speaking about progress and there were representatives from HMP Service. After hearing these people talk I was very impressed as they sounded sincere as though they really wanted a change and were reaching out to the Muslim community.

Throughout my campaign against racism and protection for those prisoners who require it most, all I have ever wanted to do is have my voice heard. The opportunity to be present with all of these people, all under one roof was almost like a dream come true for me. I have attempted writing to MP’s, Governors, and the HMP Service and felt nobody was listening and I never got an adequate response.

After a series of introductions there were workshops in which again organisations were speaking about how they want to go forward and help in any way they can and attempts that have already been made. I then heard a talk which inspired me with hope and confidence that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Nick Pascoe, the London area Manager of HMP Service spoke about Zahid Mubarak and how he was delighted to have this opportunity to work with all these organisations and with Muslims and how he aims to tackle the very same problem that I am addressing. After hearing this speech I was expecting some sort of discussion, or questions and answers, but there wasn’t any. However, I had made my mind up at that point that I would address my problem to him personally as he sounded both sincere and passionate about his work and we both were tackling the same issue.

When the break came, I realised there wouldn’t be any opportunity to air my concerns, so I approached him personally. I introduced myself and told him exactly what had happened with Omar Khyam, Eesa Barot and Hussein Osman. I spoke for a good five minutes and I received no response from him. I spoke about how the prison was racist and horrific attacks taking place and the Governor knowing full well this was taking place and the Prison service’s lack of concern. But sadly, it appeared as though my words fell upon deaf ears. There was no expression of remorse that these horrific incidents were taking place and the first words that came out of his mouth were; “There are racist people everywhere, there is not much we can do about that”. I was shocked that this same man who stood up in front of everyone and spoke about Zahid Mubarak’s racist attack about wanting to eradicate racism and was in a position of influence, being the area manager, a person who could make a change, responded in this manner. I then went on to say, the guards and the governor are aware that Frankland is a racist prison and I believe moving them there was done on purpose and that Nick Pascoe was not taking me seriously and will only take me seriously when my husband is killed, and will become another Zahid Mubarak for them to talk about. And why does it have to come to that to get action or concern from them. He didn’t say anything. I even said I hold him, HMP Service, and the governor of Frankland responsible for the attacks taking place. And I kept trying to explain the seriousness of the situation and asked him at least to say he will speak to somebody for me if he can’t do anything for me. He then said he would talk to somebody but not in a very reassuring tone. He was then called away and I didn’t get an opportunity to get his contact details. At this point I was really disheartened and began to question the motive of this meeting. Was it really to build bridges? Was it really to bridge the gap? Was it really to establish a solution? Or was it simply to build a reputation? 

Further to my disappointment was the response from the Muslim Imams from the prisons. They made mention of the minor  issues, but when we brought the bigger issues to their attention, they avoided the major issues at hand. It felt that nobody really wanted to deal with the real problems we are facing. I left early as I couldn’t stand to be in this fake environment anymore.

 There is an article in the Guardian (click here to view article) in which Phil Wheatley, the director general of HMP Service, has spoken about issues in prison.

He warned against a strategy of concentrating convicted terrorists, arguing that the experience of the H-blocks in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland had shown that it led to their forming tight cells in which they could plot further acts in and out of prison and radicalise others. “If we have a very large increase that takes us beyond our current category A capacity then we would have to build more high-security prisons or convert existing prisons, giving them extra security,” said Mr. Wheatley. “I am confident we would not be left trying to look after category A prisoners with no prisons to keep them in.” He said the balance in the argument lay with dispersing convicted terrorist prisoners throughout the high-security prison estate, with renewed efforts to monitor their activities and counter any attempts to radicalise others.

Previously, the HMP Service claimed their reasons for moving these prisoners to Frankland were due to no space, where as in this article, he clearly states that there’s plenty of space and not just that, but they are dispersing them on purpose. And in particular cases, to racist prisons. The question still remains, who will protect the prisoners in the prisons if the authorities are evading the issues?

Written by Umm Ibrahim


Another Attack On a Muslim In Frankland

Just when people start to forget the horrific incident with Eesa Barot and Hussein Osman, it happens again. Muslim inmate, Yaqoob, had his cell set on fire and attacked physically on Monday 8th October in Frankland. It is still not clear of the details as he was moved straight away, this may be because he is in healthcare. This is the third attack on Muslim inmates now in the same prison within a few months. Are the Muslims expected to just carry on being attacked and do nothing? Or is it time to retaliate?

When the Irish went through the same thing when they were imprisoned what did they do? They retaliated and fought back and it resulted in separate wings for the Irish. Will the Muslims now have to do the same for their protection? But I suppose if they do then as usual they will be painted in the media as ‘barbaric’ and ‘evil’. 

This is becoming a bigger problem and I urge the prison service and Frankland to do their duty of protecting the prisoners, because if they don’t, then its only a matter of time before the Muslims fight back. I urge all you brothers and sisters to remember this brother and his family in your du’aas and please keep on writing to the governor and ask him why is he allowing this to happen and to move the Muslim prisoners from there.

We as a Muslim community will not sit back and allow this to keep happening to our brothers. We have a duty to them. They are locked up and are being attacked. We have to be their voice and fight for them, we have to be their shield to protect them. We have no excuse after reading this to do nothing. They are attacking our brothers one by one, we need to get the others moved before they too are attacked. Please keep writing to the governor regarding Omar Khyam. Do not think that writing letters does not work, as Umm Tayyab says it worked for her when brothers in Canada were going through similar problems in prison. She kept writing and appealing and getting people to act and Alhamdulillah the situation eased.

O Allah Please protect our brothers and sisters in prison, not just here but wherever they may be. Grant our brother Yaqoob patience and a quick healing, cause him to be steadfast and strong. O Allah grant his family patience and strength and make them a strong pillar and support for him. Return him safe to his family. O Allah grant patience and quick healing to our brother Eesa. O Allah grant patience and protection to our brother Osman. O Allah move all these brothers far away from evil people who carry out such evil acts. O Allah keep them safe from harm. O Allah break the shackles of our prisoners wherever they may be. O Allah break the shackles of our prisoners wherever they may be. O Allah break the shackles of our prisoners wherever they may be. Allahumma Ameen.

 Written by Umm Ibrahim (Mrs Khyam)