Islamist extremists are extorting 'infidel tax' from fellow prisoners in some of Britain's toughest jails
Inmates in category A prisons claim Islamists threatened and bullied them
Extremists told non-Muslim prisoners to pay jizya as a protection tax
Some prisoners said they had to ask friends and family outside prison to transfer money to pay the tax
Non-Muslim inmates in several of Britain's category A prisons are being forced to pay a 'protection tax' to radical Muslim prisoners out of fear of facing violence.
The 'tax', known as 'jizya', was found to be enforced by some Islamist extremist prisoners in four of Britain's largest prisons.
The shocking findings were uncovered by a team of government investigators, appointed by justice secretary Michael Gove last August to establish the threat posed by Islamic extremists in prisons.
The 'tax', known as 'jizya', was found to be enforced by some Islamist extremist prisoners in four of Britain's largest prisons, including Belmarsh prison (pictured)
The investigation suggests that religious extremists in prison are using bullying tactics and violent threats to force prisoners to convert or pay money.
Tobacco and other luxury commodities smuggled inside prisons are often used by non-Muslims to pay the tax, while some victims said they had to ask friends and family for money.
One Whitehall source told the Sunday Times that the tax may have been inspired by the actions of ISIS, who are well known to demand jizya from non-Muslims living in Syria and Iraq.
'It sets a dangerous precedent and sends a message to non-Muslim inmates that Muslims are going to run the prison according to their own rules and sharia,' the Whitehall source said.
Although no allegations of bullying and demanding jizya have been made against him, Belmarsh prison has perviously held several high profile radical Muslim clerics including Abu Qatada, who was held before he was deported to Jordan
Faced with the option of paying up or suffering at the hands of the radicals, some prisoners have been pressured into converting to Islam to ease their time in prison.
The investigation team examined four Class A prisons, Belmarsh, Long Lartin, Woodhill and Whitemoor, holding a total of 2,633 prisoners.
'People at times are bullied and intimidated and harassed into becoming a Muslim and, if they don't, are attacked,' Steve Gillan, general secretary of the prison officers' association.
He said: 'There is a massive issue about radicalisation and extremism and, to be fair, the prison service is trying to address it.. Will it go away? No. I think the assumption is that it will get worse.'
WHAT IS JIZYA?
Jizya is a form of poll tax, inspired from the Qu'ran. It is derived from the actions of the Prophet Muhammad, who allowed non-Muslims to remain in Islamic empire's territory on the condition they pay jizya.
Until the brutal jihadi group ISIS seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, jizya has not been in practice in many countries for over a 100 years.
Christians and other religious minorities who choose not to convert to Islam, have been ordered to pay a percentage of their income to ISIS as jizya.
Payers of jizya become 'dhimmi', protected under Shari'a law and are unlikely to be further harmed.
Many religious minorities in Iraq and Syria have fled their homes in order to escape ISIS's restrictive demands of the Shari'a law inspired rule.
Anyone who chooses not to pay jizya to ISIS has to leave the city or face likely punishment.