TERRORISTS are using prison imams to recruit new members, Italian guards have warned.
They said the imams were free to enter and travel within the prisons at will, spreading messages and propaganda and leading to the creation of jihadi cells behind bars.
They also said the 70 mosques within the country’s jails were leading to a spike in jihadi recruitment.
Donato Capece, the general secretary for Italy’s biggest prison guard union, said prisons needed help to stop the growth of extremism.
He said there was enough evidence to show extremism in prisons was growing to demand more help from the government.
He said prisoners were losing their discipline and attacking guards or starting fights leading to an environment of chaos in which terrorist recruiters flourish.
He concluded by appealing for support from the Italian government when it comes to hiring new guards – especially those who speak Arabic.
“We went from 45,000 [staff members] in 2001, provided by the law, to the present 38,000. To this, we can add the fact that so many old agents are retiring.”