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Court Rules that CAIR-MI Suit for Muslim Inmates Denied Adequate Diet During Ramadan May Go Forward

CAIR MI logo(FARMINGTON HILLS, 9/21/16) – The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) today announced that it defeated a summary judgment motion filed by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) in connection with a lawsuit the Muslim civil rights organization filed on behalf of several Muslim inmates for the denial of adequate nutrition during the yearly month-long fast of Ramadan.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division, challenges a policy that required Muslim inmates to sacrifice an adequate diet when they elected to participate in the Ramadan fast. Muslim inmates received as little as one third of the recommended daily calories in Ramadan 2011 and 2012.

Since the filing of the lawsuit in 2013, MDOC has increased the amount of food it provides Muslim inmates participating in the Ramadan fast to satisfy the nutritional and caloric guidelines set forth in the United States Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Agriculture “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.â€

MDOC officials filed a motion for summary judgment, requesting dismissal of the complaint claiming that they are entitled to qualified immunity, such that they should be immune from civil liability.  CAIR-MI lawyers opposed the motion.

The Court ruled yesterday that MDOC is not entitled to qualified immunity because “a reasonable official would have known that was insufficient to sustain Plaintiffs in good health and thus violates their First and Eighth Amendment rights.â€

“We welcome the court’s decision to deny MDOC qualified immunity for violating our plaintiffs’ rights to free exercise of religion and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment,†said CAIR-MI Legal Director Lena F. Masri, Esq.

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

La misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MI Legal Director Lena Masri, (248) 390-9784, lmasri@cair.com; CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid, 248-842-1418, dwalid@cair.com; Attorney Shereef Akeel, 248-408-3660, E-Mail: shereef@akeelvalentine.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com

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