- Well, Alana Goodman withthe Washington Examiner
joins us now with moreon her exclusive story.
Alana, why would the federal government
need to fund Nation of Islamreligious studies in prison?
- Well that's a great question
and that's one that a lot of people were,
I mean, people were just shocked
when I was talking to them about this.
I spoke to analysts whoresearch hate groups
and they said there's no reason
why an organizationlike the Nation of Islam
should be getting any moneyfrom the federal government.
This isn't necessarily justa freedom of religion issue.
Obviously, it's fine to havematerials, things like that,
that you can read in a prison,
but this is about federalfunding going to this group
and this is an organizationthat has been declared
a hate group by theAnti-Defamation League,
the Southern PovertyLaw Center, and others,
so they have a long history of that.
- Right, it's really interesting.
Well, does the US Bureau of Prisons
fund other religious groups
that spout this kindof hatred in this way?
- That's a great question.
I mean would they fund an organization
like the Aryan Brotherhood for example?
There are a lot of racist type groups
that are in prisons andproliferate in prisons
and I have not heard of any other group
that has this kind of background
besides the Nation of Islamthat has received funding.
- In your story, youtalk about how the Bureau
has to review the religious materials.
Why do you think that theBureau is funding these studies,
knowing the racist andanti-Semitic themes in them?
- That's a great question
and I have asked the Bureauof Prisons about this
and they don't want to talk about
the details of the contract.
They said that the initialcontract was over six years ago
and so they don't keep theirfiles for over six years.
So we really don't knowexactly what was in there
and exactly what is being taught.
But I will say, based on the analysts
who I've spoken to about this,
anti-Semitism and anti-white bigotry
is a foundational principle
in the Nation of Islam philosophy.
It's not just the fact thattheir leader, Louis Farrakhan,
goes out and goes ontelevision or on Twitter
and compares Jews to termites.
It's also that this is a fundamental part
of the Nation of Islam philosophy
and it really can't be separated from it.
- You also report the SenateForeign Relations Committee
found as many as three dozen US citizens
who converted to Islam in prison
then traveled to Yemen,possibly for Al-Qaeda training.
Can you tell us any more about that?
- Yeah, so this was somethingthat was also raised to me
when I spoke to Congressman Peter King.
You know radicalization in prison
has been something that hehas focused on for years
on the House Homeland Security Committee
and it's something thathas been a big issue,
even recently in the news,
where we saw this Christmasmarketplace shooting
in France recently andthat was carried out
by somebody who hadreportedly been radicalized
while in prison.
So this is a big concern
and as Congressman King toldme during our interview,
this is something thatshould concern all Americans.
- Alana, where do you see this all going?
Do you expect this funding to continue?
- Well, it has droppeddown under President Trump.
Under President Obama, it wasabout five times more funding
was going to this, so we'vereally seen it drop off a lot
in the last two years, and I don't know
if that trend is gonna continue,
but the Bureau of Prisons didn't say
whether they're gonna cutoff this program or not.
It seems like they're kindof defending it in some ways
so we'll have to justwait and see on that.
- Right, well it'll beinteresting to see the fallout.
Alana Goodman, thanks foryour report and your time.
- Thank you.