CAIR-Florida Calls on Florida Department of Corrections to Respect the Religious Rights of Muslims During the Holy Month of Ramadan

(TAMPA, FL, 5/16/2019) – The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the state’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, today announced that it has received an unusually high number of complaints from inmates of the Muslim faith indicating that they are being denied necessary reasonable accommodations to practice their faith during the Muslim Holy Month of Ramadan.

During the holy month’s required periods of fasting, simple adjustments of the meal schedule are necessary to ensure that inmates can exercise of their religion without risk to their health.

The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate. As with fasting in other religious traditions, it’s seen as a way to physically and spiritually purify oneself.

The Constitution, as well as Federal and Florida law, provide that reasonable accommodations must be made for religious practitioners of all faiths unless such accommodations interfere with a compelling state interest, such as safety, security or rehabilitation. This is not the case here. During Ramadan, when practitioners abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours, this means that meals schedules need to be altered so that nourishment is provided before sunrise and after sunset.

In a letter to the Florida Department of Corrections, CAIR-Florida reminds the FDOC of the constitutional rights of inmates of the Muslim faith and the FDOC’s duty to protect those rights under the law. 

To further its mission of creating better understanding of the faith and protecting the civil rights of Americans of the Muslim faith, CAIR-Florida works actively with detention facilities and law enforcement officers throughout the state of Florida to educate officers on religious practices, cultural differences, and the required accommodations needed for Muslim detainees.

Interested agencies can take advantage of our offers of educational programs by contacting us at CAIRFLEvents@projects.filevine.com or 833-CAIRFLA (833-224-7352).  CAIR Florida also provides several other course offerings that bridge the information gap, such as courses on combating bullying based on religious affiliation in schools.

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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Florida Communications Director Wilfredo A. Ruiz, wruiz@cair.com, 305.502.6749

 


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