Wednesday’s hearing focused on the threat from “Prislam,” which Downing described as an extremist “cut and paste” version of Islam practiced by inmates. The resulting ideology is what former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Smith said he saw in some New Folsom prison inmates whom he prosecuted for plotting to attack Jewish targets in Los Angeles and the LAX airport.
Smith testified that Folsom inmate Kevin James created the radical prison group Jam’iyyat Ul-islam Is-Saheeh (JIS) in 1997. JIS supported the killing of Jews and the implementation of an Islamic government in the United States. James recruited a fellow inmate named Levar Washington, who recruited two others upon his release, including an LAX employee, to assist with the terror plots.
“From the prison [Kevin James] was able to set up and set out an operation cell of would be jihadists on the streets of Southern California,” said Smith. “James set up a system where he would send the protocol to mail on the outside.”
The person on the outside would send the protocol back to inmates inside other prisons, spreading the JIS ideology.
Several factors contribute to inmate conversions to “Prislam,” witnesses testified, including the accessibility of radical literature inside prison walls and prison chaplains who espouse radical beliefs.