Moroccan Muslims, including suspects in the Madrid train bombings, are running the Spanish jail in which they are held on their own terms, according to reports.
Dawn calls to prayer by a muezzin, attempts to avoid female staff and the conversion of a reading room into a prayer room have all provoked confrontations at Topas prison near Salamanca, according to prison officers quoted by El Mundo newspaper yesterday….
El Mundo reported that Muslims were concentrated on one wing, and alleged that radicals forced others to pray several times a day.
“The wing is theirs. The authorities have had no choice but to accept their demands,” said one officer anonymously. “The influence of groups like these over the prisoners is great,” said JosÃ© RamÃ³n LÃ³pez, president of the prison officers’ union.
A prisons spokesman denied to the Guardian that there was any problem at the jail. “The right to practise religion is being respected,” he said. “That is an obligation spelled out in the Spanish constitution.”
El Mundo claimed one prisoner had threatened a jailer and his family, saying: “We are going to win the holy war.” Photos of Osama bin Laden were on cell walls, it added.