Stirring Up the Stir
Australian authorities are concerned that radical Islamists are recruiting the most hardened and vicious criminals in Australian jails. "Called the 'Super Max Jihadists', they are easily identifiable, with shaven heads, long beards, carrying prayer beads and conducting prayers at least three times a day in their cells." This glimpse into Austrlian prison spirituality is provided by the Brisbane Times.
Their ringleader and powerbroker is Bassam Hamzy, jailed for 21 years for the cold-blooded shooting murder of an 18-year-old man outside the Mr Goodbar nightclub in Oxford Street in 1998.
Prison officers have confiscated pictures of Osama bin Laden from the walls of Hamzy's cell. Prisoners have been captured on surveillance tapes kneeling in front of Hamzy and kissing his hands.
The 37 Super Max inmates, including backpacker serial killer Ivan Milat, have committed 48 murders and are serving combined sentences of 550 years.
Now 12 of them claim adherence to Islam and form a close-knit culture in the purpose-built jail within a jail. Under Mr Hatzistergos's new measures, Hamzy and his apostles will be deemed "extreme high security" and be subject to controls that can be ordered at any time by NSW Corrective Services commissioner Ron Woodham.
The wardens are now trying to control the flow of funds being sent to the Super Max Jihadis and reserve the right to move the men around as they see fit, in addition to monitoring their communications, mail and conversations. Mr Hatzistergos says "the thought that somehow religion has acted as a catharsis for them and made them see the light is, quite frankly, ludicrous." Oh, he of little faith.