CBS62logoNEW2013_blue_final_header_White wwj950-sm2011b 971-ticket-35smb 35h_CBSSportsRad_Detroit

Local

Michigan Prisons To Provide Halal Meals Under Settlement With ACLU

View Comments

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

LANSING (WWJ) – The Michigan Department of Corrections has agreed to provide special halal meals to Muslim inmates.

Under a court-approved settlement reached with the American Civil Liberties Union, state prisons will also allow Muslim inmates to attend religious observances that may conflict with work assignments and expunge any disciplinary action taken against those who refused work due to their faith.

Michigan had provided Kosher meals to the state’s Jewish inmates but had not made similar accommodations Muslim convicts.

The settlement mandates that Muslim inmates be provided halal meals, or meals prepared accordance with religious tenets. Islam forbids consumption of pork, and Allah’s name must be invoked before an animal is slaughtered, by a Muslim, in a specific way.

Also as a part of the settlement, the MDOC must also now allow Muslim inmates to congregate for a meal on the two Eid holidays.

“The government may not deprive Americans of their fundamental right to practice their religion, even when they are prison,” said Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan. “Thanks to this groundbreaking case, Muslim prisoners will no longer be forced to eat food that violates their religious principles and they won’t be punished for joining weekly prayers or celebrating important religious holidays.”

This comes after, in 2009, the ACLU of Michigan filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of Muslim and Seventh-day Adventist inmates alleging that the MDOC had violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), the First Amendment guarantee to religious freedom, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In August, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the MDOC had violated the religious rights of Muslim inmates by denying them the ability to attend Eid meals and refusing to accommodate their need to attend weekly prayer services.

Thursday’s court-ordered agreement resolves the rest of the case.

“One measure of a civilized society is how it treats its prisoners,” said ACLU Cooperating Attorney Daniel Quick. “This victory is not only a win for thousands of inmates of faith, but it is a victory for everyone who believes in our Constitution.”

“One measure of a civilized society is how it treats its prisoners,” said ACLU Cooperating Attorney Daniel Quick. “This victory is not only a win for thousands of inmates of faith, but it is a victory for everyone who believes in our Constitution.”

There are more than 1,800 Muslim inmates within the Michigan prison system.

[Best Traditional Halal Restaurants In Detroit]

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,911 other followers