The Miami-Dade prison system is under pressure to provide Sharia-compliant meals for Muslim inmates. The ACLU is teaming up with four Muslim prisoners to demand that the inmates be served halal meals, which are Sharia-compliant.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Center that Muslim inmates be served halal meals. They have not been served such meals since a policy was put in place in October 2014.
The group and their Muslim clients complain that while Jewish inmates are served kosher meals, Muslim inmates are stripped of their right to exercise their religion since they are not served halal meals. With halal meals, the animals must be slaughtered a certain way and the halal food cannot come into contact with other food.
The ACLU wants the policy from October 2014 stricken down and also wants the prison system to allow their clients to practice their Muslim faith by serving them halal meals.
CAIR (Council for American-Islamic Relations), which has ties to the terrorist group Hamas, also weighed in on the issue. Along with the ACLU, they said they have received complaints from Muslim inmates over the lack of halal food and being required to eat the same food as the general population. Both the ACLU and CAIR claim that complaints sent to the prison system have been met with no response.
Civil rights director for CAIR Floriday, Thania Diaz-Clevenger, said, “Some of them are not eating, or they’re not eating enough.” Stating that the inmates believe their constitutional rights are being violated, she continued, “They’re conflicted with, ‘Should I practice my religion, something I sincerely believe and it’s a part of me, or do I starve.'”
In a statement to Local 10 News, Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department spokesman Janelle Hall gave their side of the story.
“Last month, we met with members of CAIR to discuss concerns related to the meals being offered to our Muslim inmates. CAIR stated the Halal meal is the only acceptable option for Muslim inmates. However, CAIR was informed during this meeting that the department’s Imam, who has serviced the Muslim inmate population for several years and has guided us on Muslim-related issues, found the alternative meal currently offered to the Muslim inmates to be in accordance with Muslim principles.
Although MDCR consistently meets the religious dietary needs of our inmate population, including those of the Muslim faith, CAIR was advised that we would give further consideration to the offering of Halal meals as an additional option. We will continue to work with CAIR and the Muslim community regarding issues that may affect our Muslim inmates and welcome assistance with identifying additional Imams willing to volunteer their services.”
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h/t CNS News