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They at least have room service
October 3, 2011
8:12 pm
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greeney2
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This is what happens when you get convicted, you forfit your rights.

Ohio Muslim inmates sue over meal preparation

By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS - AP Legal Affairs Writer | AP – 1 hr 0 mins agotweet21Share0EmailPrintRelated ContentFILE - This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation …
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11 photos - Thu, Sep 29, 2011See latest photos »COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Muslim death row inmate says the Ohio prison system is denying him meals prepared according to Islamic law while at the same time providing kosher meals to Jewish prisoners, according to a federal lawsuit that alleges a civil rights violation.

Condemned inmate Abdul Awkal says the prison system's failure to provide halal meals is a restraint on his religious freedoms.

Awkal, joined by a second inmate not on death row, says the vegetarian and non-pork options offered by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction aren't good enough. The inmates say the food must be prepared in specific fashion, such as ensuring that an animal is butchered by slitting its throat and draining its blood, to conform with Islamic beliefs.

"The issue of eating Halal meals is especially important to me because I face a death sentence," Awkal said in a filing in federal court earlier this year. "It is important to me that I follow the requirements of my faith as I approach death."

A judge has given lawyers and inmates for the state until next month to finish filing documents bolstering their arguments, ahead of an expected January trial.

Awkal, 52, is scheduled to die in June for killing his estranged wife, Latife Awkal, and brother-in-law Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz in 1992, in a room in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court.

Joining Awkal in the lawsuit is Cornelius Causey, 35, serving 15 years to life for murder and aggravated robbery convictions out of Hamilton County.

Ohio argues that it provides both non-pork and vegetarian meals to Muslims and says the courts have sided with this practice. The state also says that providing halal meals could hurt Ohio financially, given the current budget situation.

"The complete restructuring of ODRC's food service administration and preparation, at a cost of millions to the State of Ohio during fiscal crisis, is at stake," Ryan Dolan, an assistant attorney general, argued in a court filing.

Ohio included in its response to the lawsuit a document from a Muslim who does regular spiritual counseling of Muslim inmates.

While Imam Sunni-Ali Islam said he thought it was problematic that Ohio provided kosher but not halal meals, he said he doesn't think it rises to the level of religious discrimination.

The state's prison guidelines for Jewish prisoners say, "The Department will accommodate kosher dietary restrictions to recognized Jewish inmates."

For Muslim inmates, prison rules say, "The diet will be free of all pork and products containing or derived from pork. The institution will provide nutritionally adequate meat and non-meat alternatives."

Ohio prison officials declined to comment beyond documents filed in support of the state position.

California provides packaged kosher meals to Jewish inmates and halal meals prepared at prisons for Muslim prisoners. Meats used for the halal meals are cooked separately from other prison food, said spokesman Paul Herke.

The state serves about 4,100 halal meals a day at a cost of about $3.50 per day, compared with about $2.90 a day for regular prison meals.

"We would consider that a pretty nominal difference," Herke said.

Arizona provides vegetarian and other options to satisfy the halal requirement but does not provide meals specifically dubbed halal.

Similarly, Muslim inmates in Texas can select regular, meat-free or pork-free meals but are not served halal meals. Massachusetts serves both kosher and halal meals.

Ohio says requiring halal meals could mean new dietary plans for as many as 2,000 inmates, while Awkal's lawyers believe the figure is lower because not all Muslims eat halal meals.

__

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached at .

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October 4, 2011
8:38 pm
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bionic
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not sure how I feel about all that

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

October 4, 2011
9:15 pm
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greeney2
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A Muslim death row inmate

Must not have been very religious in the first place! Thats how I feel about it Bionic. Laugh

October 5, 2011
6:57 am
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bionic
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like a faker?
you think?
or..just..confused?
(walk a mile in my shoes)
this is my issue..curiosity

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

October 12, 2011
5:38 am
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capricorn
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This is what happens when you get convicted, you forfit your rights.

Must not have been very religious in the first place!

amen greeney

"a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people."

October 12, 2011
9:38 am
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bionic
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“Whatsoever you do to the least of my people, that you do unto me.”

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

October 13, 2011
3:18 am
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capricorn
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People don't senselessly murder each other, but animals do

"a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people."

October 13, 2011
8:07 pm
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bionic
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people are animals
mostly tamed (or faking it well), but still animals
we are flesh and spirit..all of us

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

October 16, 2011
9:55 pm
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at1with0
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If prisoners have no rights, then they don't have the right to live.

Therefore, they should be promptly terminated so as to make room for all the other heretics and heathens.

Laugh Laugh Laugh

"it is easy to grow crazy"

October 19, 2011
3:24 am
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at1with0
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...soooo.... Assuming that you think they do have the right to live, the question is what other rights do they have?

"it is easy to grow crazy"

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