May 21, 2022

A judge just punished an Alaska prison for rights abuses against Muslim prisoners

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A federal judge ordered an end to a pernicious version of Islamophobia today by granting a restraining order preventing prison guards in Alaska from giving Muslim inmates food containing religiously prohibited pork at the end of their daily Ramadan fasting.


Website The New Arab reported that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) had requested an emergency temporary order to end the practice after discovering that the Anchorage Correctional Complex was doing exactly that, in what CAIR saw as a clear violation of constitutional prohibitions against “cruel and unusual punishment”.

A judge at the US District Court for Alaska agreed with that assessment and immediately put an end to the disrespectful practice. The prison will now require guards to “provide adequate meals in accordance with government health guidelines.”

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CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as President,” the organisation said in a statement.

During Ramadan, Muslim tradition specifies that adherents fast from dawn until sunset, a period that can last as long as 18 hours in the northern reaches of Alaska at this time of year.

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The Anchorage Correctional Complex had been serving rations that contained around 1,100 calories per day, less than half the 2,500 calories per day recommended for adult men, but were functionally even less nutritious since inmates had to eat their way around the pork included in their meals.

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CAIR said the treatment of the Muslim prisoners violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalised Persons Act as well as the First and 14th Amendment rights to equal protection and free exercise of religion.

While CAIR was at least temporarily victorious in its suit, the incident is just another example of the demonization of minorities that has somehow become not only acceptable but pervasive under President Trump’s racist regime.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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