Alaska agency responds to Muslim inmate lawsuit
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Latest on a lawsuit by Muslim inmates against Alaska corrections officials (all times local):
An Alaska corrections department spokeswoman says the department is doing its best to accommodate Muslim inmates during Ramadan.
Megan Edge, in a statement, says the department cannot comment on specific litigation. But she provided information on department policy for accommodating inmates who want to observe religious practices.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Legal Defense Fund has sued state corrections officials on behalf of two Muslim inmates at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. The lawsuit contends that the meals being provided to the men as they break their daily fasts during Ramadan are nutritionally insufficient.
Edge says inmates observing Ramadan at the Anchorage facility receive two sack meals each night that contain a total of four sandwiches, plus fruit, vegetables, milk and cookies or cake.
Muslim inmates are suing state corrections officials, arguing that officials at an Alaska jail are providing them with inadequate nourishment as they break their daily fasts during Ramadan.
The lawsuit was filed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Legal Defense Fund. It asks a federal judge to require the Anchorage Correctional Complex provide the men with meals with sufficient calories.
The lawsuit argues the existing policy is unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment and has a chilling effect on the men’s rights to exercise their religion.
Ramadan is the Muslim holy month, marked by daily fasting from dawn to sunset. In Alaska, for those who observe Ramadan, that can mean going about 18 hours without food.
A message seeking comment was sent to a state corrections spokeswoman Wednesday.
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