Prison ordered to provide Muslim inmates with meals in accordance with Ramadan
© WikiMedia (Michael Coghlan)

Prison ordered to provide Muslim inmates with meals in accordance with Ramadan

A federal judge granted [opinion, PDF] a temporary restraining order requiring a Washington correctional facility to provide four inmates with nutritional diets for the remainder of Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims abstain from eating or drinking between dawn and sunset.

The temporary order was necessary due to the immediacy of the concern. The inmates had already been “deprived of adequate nutrition for the last three weeks, are currently fasting during Ramadan, and Ramadan will end on approximately June 15, 2018, thereby making a full briefing schedule and hearing impractical,” said Judge Ronald Leighton in the US District Court in the Western District of Washington [official website].

Leighton wrote that the prison’s “exclusion of Plaintiffs from the Ramadan List inflict[ed:] irreparable injury by failing to provide Plaintiffs and other fasting Muslims with adequate nutrition during Ramadan, as well as by failing to accommodate Plaintiffs’ sincere religious beliefs.” He found the inmates had a substantial likelihood of Eighth Amendment claims; among other reasons.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [advocacy website] filed the suit [complaint, PDF] Sunday seeking immediate intervention.

In a CAIR press release [statement], National Litigation Director Lena Masri said, “Muslim inmates have been starved and their health is in danger as a result of the Monroe Correctional Complex’s shameful starvation policy. We welcome the federal court’s swift intervention, which will bring this health crisis to an end and ensure that Muslim inmates are not starved and brutalized for practicing the fundamental principles of their faith.”