Page last updated at 19:02 GMT, Friday, 12 March 2010

Growing fears over Muslim prison 'gangs'

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Violent Islamic extremism is being promoted in prisons across England and Wales, according to inmates who have been speaking exclusively to the BBC.

Former prisoners said they were able to watch Al Qaeda videos and to forcibly convert other inmates.

The prison officers union, the POA, warns that Muslim gangs are close to controlling parts of some prisons.

The Prison Service says it is "not blind to the risks" but insists the problem is being exaggerated.

'Jay' has spent many years inside various prisons in the South of England. He spoke to the BBC Home Affairs correspondent, Daniel Sandford, about his experiences.

In a statement the Ministry of Justice said: "It is ridiculous to suggest that any gang 'controls' a prison. There is no evidence to support the allegation that Al-Qaeda videos have ever been openly watched. Violence is not acceptable in prison and any incidents will be investigated thoroughly".

Listen to the full report on the Donal MacIntyre programme on BBC 5 live on Sunday, 14 March at 19.30 GMT. You can also download the free podcast or listen via the BBC iPlayer.

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