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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ALERT ALERT

GOP Activist Investigating Hillary Clinton’s Lost Emails
Found Dead — Apparent Suicide By Black Plastic Bag Republican activist Peter Smith was found dead in his hotel room in May 2017 in Rochester, Minnesota.

The hotel staff found Smith with a black plastic bag on his head. He was trying to obtain Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.

UPDATE: Mueller and Congressional investigators have interviewed Smith’s acquaintances several times. Our sources say there is much more to this story.

The Wall Street Journal reported:

Peter W. Smith, a Republican political activist and financier from Chicago who mounted an effort to obtain former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails from Russian hackers, died on May 14 after asphyxiating himself in a hotel room in Rochester, Minn., according to local authorities. He was 81 years old.

Mr. Smith’s body was found by a hotel clerk in the Aspen Suites hotel, located across the street from the Mayo Clinic, according to a Rochester Police Department report. An associate of Mr. Smith said that he had recently visited the clinic. A representative for the facility wouldn’t confirm if Mr. Smith was a patient.

Mr. Smith died about 10 days after an interview with The Wall Street Journal in which he recounted his attempts to acquire what he believed were thousands of emails stolen from Mrs. Clinton’s private email server. He implied that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, then serving as the senior national security adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, was aware of his efforts…

…The police report said Mr. Smith was found by a hotel clerk with a plastic bag around his head attached tightly with black rubber bands. Mr. Smith “left documentation on why he committed suicide, medical records, his written obituary, and life insurance” on a table in his room, the report said.

OMG

Massachusetts Man Arrested After Trying To Hire
A Hit Man On Twitter To Kill ICE Agents For $500

A 33-year-old lefty from Cambridge, Massachusetts named Brandon Ziobrowski was arrested Thursday after offering anyone on Twitter $500 to kill ICE agents.

Ziobrowski also expressed his desire to slit John McCain’s throat in several tweets.

FOX News reported:

A Massachusetts man was arrested in New York on Thursday after trying to hire a hit man on Twitter to kill ICE agents for $500 and sharing his desire to slit the throat of Sen. John McCain, federal officials said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts said that Brandon Ziobrowski, 33, from Cambridge, Mass. was charged with one count of use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat and injure another person for the alleged Twitter posts this year.

Federal officials said Ziobrowski tweeted a murder for hire solicitation to kill Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for $500, and repeatedly tweeted his desire to slit the throat of McCain, R-Ariz.

“The agents and officers out there enforcing federal laws are doing their job, plain and simple,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling said at a news conference. “There is a difference between public debate and putting others in fear of their lives.”

Federal officials said Ziobrowski in March started tweeting threatening messages against federal agents that work for ICE.

On July 2, the 33-year-old allegedly tweeted: “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills ICE agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this lets make this work.”

The Justice Department released a statement on the arrest of Ziobrowski:

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