EAST LYME, Conn. — The state Department of Correction is investigating a claim of discrimination filed by the Muslim chaplain at the state prison for women involving a defaced photo.

A childhood picture of Bilal Asari, who is black, among a group of white children, that has been hanging in his office was defaced. Someone painted over Asari’s black face with white correction fluid and scrawled a racial slur across the photo in red ink.

DOC spokesman Brian Garnett said Friday the agency was investigating what he calls “vile and bigoted behavior.”

Asari said someone came into his locked office at J.B. Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic to deface the photo, which he said his mother had given him to remind him of how far he had come from the days when he was bused to an all-white school.

Asari said the incident is just the latest in a series of incidents of racial and religious discrimination he has faced from employees at the prison.

Asari told The Day of New London the incident is a part of more than two years of racial and religious discrimination he has faced from prison employees.

“They’re doing what they can do to make my life hard,” Asari said Friday. “They’re calling my office and hanging up. They come in my worship service and step on my rug with their boots.”

Asari said he recently filed a complaint with the state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities after he received little or no response to more than 12 internal and affirmative action complaints he has made to the Department of Correction over the last two years.


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