Press Releases

TODAY: CAIR-Florida to Announce Suit in Federal Court to Allow Inmate to Grow Religious Beard

Muslim civil rights group provides support in similar case filed in Middle District 

(MIAMI, FL, May 27, 2021) — Later today (Thursday, May 27), the Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Florida), the state’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, will hold a press conference to announce a lawsuit against the Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections (DoC) in the Federal District Court for the Southern District to obtain the right of a Muslim inmate to grow a beard based on his religious principles. 

WHAT: Press Conference: CAIR-Florida sues state agency by challenging inmate beard policy 

WHEN: Thursday, May 27, 2021, at Noon ET 

WHERE: 9000 NW 44th Street, Ste. 200, Sunrise, FL 33351 

CONTACT: Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, CAIR-Florida Communications Director, 305-502-6749, 

In the case of Watson v. Mark S. Inch, et. al. (See: ) CAIR-Florida challenges the Florida Department of Correction’s beard shaving policy as a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act RLUIPA, and Mr. Watson’s constitutional right to freely practice his religion, Islam. 

CAIR-Florida also announced it will be covering the costs of an expert witness in support of a similar beard related case against the DoC – Abdul Hakeem Jahmal Answers Shabbazz a/k/a Owen Denson, Jr. v. Mark S. Inch, Secretary Florida Department of Corrections – in support of the court appointed attorney Victor Bermudez, Esq. 

CAIR-Florida’s attorney Omar Saleh stated:  

“We are committed to bringing systemic change to institutions like the Florida Department of Corrections by ensuring that any discriminatory policies are challenged. This is not about only Muslims, it is about everyone’s religious freedom, and we will continue to support similar efforts until the institutionalized discriminatory policies against incarcerated individuals are eliminated.” 

Saleh filed the case at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and will be accompanied by Mr. Watson’s family members that will be available for media access.   

SEE: He’s lost his freedom for life, but he’s won the religious freedom to grow his beard

CAIR-Florida’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

La misión de CAIR-Florida es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, proteger las libertades civiles, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos. 



Wilfredo Amr Ruiz, CAIR-Florida Communications Director, 305-502-6749, 


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