(WASHINGTON, DC, 6/6/18) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that the federal judge overseeing the Muslim civil rights organization’s lawsuit against Anchorage Correctional Complex for starving Muslim inmates has approved an agreement between CAIR and Alaska's attorney general that requires Muslim inmates observing Ramadan be provided with adequate nutrition.
The agreement covers this year's holiday as well as any subsequent Ramadan while the lawsuit is pending.
SEE: Judge’s Order
This agreement comes after the federal court granted CAIR’s request for an emergency temporary restraining order on May 25, 2018, just days after the council filed the lawsuit. The restraining order requires the Anchorage Correctional Complex to provide all fasting Muslim inmates, including the plaintiffs, pork-free meals that contain a minimum of 2600 calories.
[NOTE: While the agreement gives CAIR the emergency relief it sought for Muslim inmates, the case is not over. CAIR will seek a final judgment from the court aimed at ensuring that Muslim inmates' rights to practice their faith are respected.]
“We are glad that all the fasting Muslim inmates will receive adequate, pork-free meals while they continue their fast and fulfill their religious obligations,” said Lena Masri, CAIR National Litigation Director. “CAIR will continue to vigorously defend the rights of Muslim inmates against prison officials who choose to starve or otherwise violate their rights.”
CAIR filed suit in the US District Court for the District of Alaska claiming violation of Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment prohibitions against “cruel and unusual punishment,” violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and violation of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and free exercise of religion after it was discovered that inmates were receiving less than half the calories legally required and as little as 500 calories on some days.
The suit seeks a “balanced nutritional diet” for the inmates, policy changes and compensatory and punitive damages.
SEE: CAIR Files Emergency Lawsuit on Behalf of Muslim Inmates in Alaska Being ‘Starved’ and Fed Pork During Ramadan
CAIR offers an educational toolkit, called "A Correctional Institution’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," to help correctional officers and administrators gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.
The Washington-based organization’s recently-released 2018 Civil Rights Report, “Targeted,” showed a 17 percent increase in bias-motivated incidents against American Muslims from 2016 to 2017, and a 15 percent increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes in that same time period.
Community members are being urged to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR National Litigation Director Lena Masri, 248-390-9784, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Trial Attorney Carolyn Homer, 202-516-4724, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org