Prison Must Provide Muslim Inmates With Nighttime Ramadan Meals, Federal Court Rules

  June 14,2018, A federal judge has ruled that a prison in the state of Washington must provide meals to four Muslim prisoners at night so that they can abide by the required Islamic tradition of fasting from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.

 United States District Judge Ronald Leighton for the Western District of Washington granted plaintiffs Demario Roberts, Mohamed Mohamed, Jeremy Livingston and Naim Lao a temporary injunction on Sunday that forces the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe to provide them with nighttime meals.

 The judge ruled that the four plaintiffs were likely to prevail on grounds that the Eighth Amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment and on grounds that the correctional facility's actions could violate the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

 The plaintiffs had previously requested that they be added to a prison "Ramadan List" of Muslims who can participate in what is known as the Ramadan Meal Program upheld by the head chaplain of the Monroe Correctional Complex.

 An emergency motion filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by the Muslim advocacy organization Council on American–Islamic Relations explains that the requests of the plaintiffs were denied without "any compelling government interest." CAIR asserts that the the Monroe Correctional Complex "refused to recognize the plaintiffs as observant Muslims."

 Under current policy, inmates are required to sign up for the Ramadan Meal Program by the end of January. The Associated Press reports that those who fail to sign up by the deadline may receive the nighttime meals at the discretion of prison chaplains.

 

If unable to get chaplain approval, someone like Livingston faced a real problem because he didn't enter prison until late March, well after the late January deadline.

 As the holy month of Ramadan runs from May 15 to June 14, the plaintiffs have reportedly experienced severe weight loss and symptoms of starvation as they had not been provided meals at night for at least three weeks. CAIR reports that the plaintiffs have lost an average of 20 pounds during that time.

"Defendants' exclusion of Plaintiffs from the Ramadan List inflicts 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," Leighton's ruling reads.

 The judge asserted that "the public interest is served by protecting Plaintiffs' nutrition as well as their religious rights and liberties." The judge proclaimed that the prison must provide the plaintiffs and other inmates practicing Ramadan with a nutritional diet of 2,600 to 2,800 calories per day during Ramadan.

"[A] Temporary Restraining Order is needed because Plaintiffs have 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," the judge wrote in his ruling.

 Jeremy Barclay, a spokesperson for the Washington Department of Corrections, told the Associated Press that the department "takes very seriously" the welfare of those incarcerated in its facilities. He added that the department was "immediately responsive to the court order."

 The judge's ruling, which came just hours after the emergency motion was filed, was praised by CAIR's National Litigation Director Lena Masri.

"Muslim inmates have been starved and their health is in danger as a result of the Monroe Correctional Complex's shameful starvation policy," Masri said in a statement. "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."

 Jasmine Samy, the civil rights director for CAIR-Washington, stated that courts have long established precedent that "prisons must accommodate religious practices."

"Muslim inmates are simply asking for the right to practice their religion while incarcerated," she said. "To deny them is discriminatory and unconstitutional."

 Prominent Christians, like Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore, have also spoken out in the past in support of religious freedom for Muslims and other non-Christian religious beliefs.

"One thing we need to be clear about is that religious liberty is not a government 'benefit,' but a natural and inalienable right granted by God. Often at issue is whether or not the civil state has the power to zone mosques or Islamic cemeteries or synagogues or other houses of worship out of existence because of what those groups believe," Moore wrote in 2017. "When someone makes such a claim, they are not standing up for Jesus and his gospel, but standing against them. To empower the state to command or to forbid worship is not fidelity to the Bible."

 In 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Arkansas corrections officials violated the First Amendment rights of Muslim inmates by preventing them from growing beards. In 2017, a New Jersey township agreed to pay $3.5 million in a legal settlement after it was sued for denying an application to a Muslim group to build a mosque in December 2015.

"When we say — as Baptists and many other Christians always have — that freedom of religion applies to all people, Christian or not, we are not suggesting that there are many paths to God, or that truth claims are relative," Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, added. "We are fighting for the opposite. We are saying religion should be free from state control because we believe every person must give an account before the Judgment Seat of Christ."

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LIGHTER SIDE

ALERT ALERT

Clinton Donor And Tax Cheat Tied To Russia

“Do as we say, not as we do.”

That seems to be the slogan for Hillary Clinton and her political allies, and it’s especially apt in light of new information about one of Clinton’s largest campaign donors.

While the left is still trying to attack President Trump and his family over unproven business dealings and largely debunked connections to Russia, a new report indicates that it was Hillary Clinton’s team who were doing those exact things.

“Fox News has learned that one of the top donors to the ‘Hillary Victory Fund’ (HVF) in 2016 was a Los Angeles-based attorney who is alleged to have misused company funds to create his own $22 million real estate portfolio,” that outlet reported on Thursday.

“He has also been considered by California to be one of the state’s biggest tax cheats, and allegedly has ties to the (Russian) Kremlin,” Fox continued.

The man’s name is Edgar Sargsyan. His deep pockets greatly benefited Clinton’s campaign, with contributions of at least $250,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund in 2016.

He was also in charge of an elite fundraising dinner to benefit Clinton, where donors paid $100,000 per couple just to attend the ritzy event. But in true Clinton fashion, the money apparently went missing.

Sargsyan is now “being sued by his former company for allegedly diverting those funds to start his own real estate company,” according to Fox.

Now, people are asking hard questions about Clinton’s buddy Sargsyan, including whether his contributions were part of a pay-to-play scheme and if he had shady connections to foreign governments.

“Nobody gave to the Hillary Victory Fund out of the goodness of their heart or some generalized desire to help 33 random state parties,” pointed out attorney Dan Backer from the Committee to Defend the President.

“They did so to buy access and curry influence — something the Clintons have been selling for nearly three decades in and out of government,” he continued.

Trying to buy political influence is sadly common, especially when it comes to the Clintons. What is raising more red flags than normal, however, is the evidence that Sargsyan is no run-of-the-mill campaign donor.

“The really scary question is, what did this particular donor with this strange web of connections hope to buy for his quarter-million dollars?” Backer asked Fox News.

That web of connections is strange indeed.

The Committee to Defend the President is now alleging that SBK, a major Sargsyan-linked company “is an investment firm that is affiliated with United Arab Emirates president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, and its international affiliate has business interests in Russia,” according to Fox.

“Among its dealings was a bid to finance $850 million for a major bridge project to connect Crimea with Russia,” the group claims.

“He worked for SBK, and SBK appears to have bid on some Crimean/Russian bridge project,” Backer said. “That’s usually an indicator of political favor and connections.”

It raises several chilling questions: Was Sargsyan paying a quarter million dollars to Clinton for political favors, and — more disturbingly — was that money actually from sources in Russia in order to smooth the way for its construction plans?

Nobody knows for sure. What is clear, however, is that there is a pattern of dirty money surrounding the Clintons, with the “Uranium One” and “Clinton Foundation” scandals just two of the most well-known examples.

“It reinforces how fast and loose the Clinton machine was when it came to ‘Hoovering up’ these megadonor checks, not just from questionable Hollywood and Wall Street elites but potentially from foreign influence peddlers using who knows what money,” Backer told Fox News.

“It reinforces the need to take a long hard look at not just the unlawful money laundering process, but the way in which they were solicited as well,” he continued. “The Clintons have never shown a great deal of concern for whomever it was cutting the checks — whether it’s foreign influence peddlers or Hollywood smut peddlers like Harvey Weinstein.”

If those claims are even partially true, then America dodged a bullet in November of 2016 — and it’s worth keeping the pile of foreign-connected Clinton scandals in mind the next time the left tries desperately to tie Donald Trump to Russia. Perhaps they should look in the mirror.

SLAVEHOLDER??

Washington Post Compares
Jeff Sessions To Slaveholder’

The Washington Post compared Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “slaveholders” after he quoted the Bible on Thursday while discussing his department’s policy of prosecuting all illegal immigrants who cross the border.

Sessions made the statement during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

WaPo ran a story entitled “Sessions cites Bible passage used to defend slavery in defense of separating immigrant families” by general assignment editor Keith McMillan and religion reporter Julie Zauzmer on Friday.

Rather than detailing the statistics Sessions cited in the speech that explain the immigration policy, the story quoted John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

“This is the same argument that Southern slaveholders and the advocates of a Southern way of life made,” Fea said.

Sessions spent much of the speech discussing the numbers behind current immigration policy, including separating families at the Southwest border.

“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said.

“Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

“The previous administration wouldn’t prosecute aliens if they came with children,” Sessions said.

“It was de-facto open borders if you came with children. The results were unsurprising. More and more illegal aliens started showing up at the border with children.”

Sessions laid out the numbers in the speech.

“In 2013, fewer than 15,000 family units were apprehended crossing our border illegally between ports of entry in dangerous areas of the country,” he said.

“Five years later, it was more than 75,000, a five-fold increase in five years. It didn’t even have to be their child that was brought, it could be anyone. You can imagine that this created a lot of danger.”

The U.S. has the “opportunity” to fix its broken immigration system now, Sessions said.

“I believe that’s it’s moral, right, just and decent that we have a lawful system of immigration,” he said. “The American people have been asking for it.”

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