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Michigan's Muslim inmates being denied halal meals, lawsuit claims
by Tresa Baldas
A federal lawsuit was filed today against the Michigan Department of Corrections, alleging several Muslim inmates aren't getting enough "nutritional" food during the month-long fast of Ramadan and are being forced to eat foods that violate their religious beliefs.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the state's "Ramadan Bagged Meal" contains about 1,100-1,400 calories, which is roughly less than half the amount of calories that the other inmates get on any given day. Under state prison policy, all inmate meals total 2,600 to 2,900 calories a day.
The lawsuit, filed by the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), is challenging a policy that it claims requires Muslim inmates to sacrifice an adequate diet when they participate in the Ramadan fast. The suit also challenges a policy that prevents Muslims from maintaining a religiously-mandated —or halal — diet. Halal is a term used to designate food seen as permissible according to Islamic teachings. Under the halal food diet, pork and pork-based food products are forbidden, an addition to all meat that is not slaughtered and prepared in accordance with Islamic law.
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