Saudi-supported outreach program which seeks to convert U.S. prison inmates to the Islamic faith
The National Islamic Prison Foundation (NIPF) is an outreach program organized for the purpose of converting inmates in America's penal system to the Muslim faith. The Washington-based Center for Security Policy reports that NIPF is one of more than two dozen interconnected groups that together form a nationwide network of such programs, which are funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia. (Much of the Saudi money that reaches NIPF is funneled through the American Muslim Foundation.) NIPF claims that it converts an average of 135,000 prisoners per year. Responsible for indoctrinating the inmates in NIPF’s program are Saudi-trained Islamic clerics, who generally preach Wahhabism, an extreme form of Islam embraced by the Taliban and al Qaeda, and associated with virulent anti-Semitic and anti-Western worldviews.
NIPF was created in 1993 by the American Muslim Council. According to NIPF President Mahdi Bray (who also serves as Executive Director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation), NIPF regularly receives thousands of books and pamphlets from Arabic nations to distribute to inmates. Each year, his organization ships more than 20,000 Qurans and other Islamic publications to U.S. prisons.
On February 5, 2003, The Wall Street Journal reported that Wahhabism is making serious inroads into the black population of U.S. prisons, and has become the fastest growing religion among young, incarcerated African Americans. During their prison stays, these Muslim converts are told by NIPF that when they are eventually set free, they will be able to find food and shelter, as well as assistance in finding employment, in virtually any mosque or masjid (Islamic center).
The indoctrination of American inmates is a strategy described in al Qaeda training manuals, which assert that non-Muslim prisoners should be targeted for religious conversion because they are likely to be "disenchanted with their country's policies." Moreover, say the manuals, such converts can be invaluable to terrorist groups because they "combine a desire for 'payback' with an ability to blend easily into American culture."