A county jail has agreed to provide Muslim inmates with meats prepared according to Islamic law, ending a three-year-long legal fight.
Under a settlement approved by a federal judge in Manhattan on March 12, the Westchester County jail is serving four halal meat dishes a week for Muslim inmates who request them, the Journal News reported. “Halal” is an Arabic word that means lawful or permitted.
The change will cost the county about 15 cents per serving, said Richard Cohen, a lawyer representing nine Muslim inmates. Their lawsuit, which dates to 2005, claimed religious bias.
The inmates noted that the jail offered kosher meats for observant Jews, but generally only vegetarian meals for devout Muslims. Halal meat was served twice a year on religious occasions.
The jail’s imam, John Nashid, called the discrepancy “a discriminatory practice against the Muslim inmate population.”