Judge set to order proper meals for Muslim inmates in Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A judge plans to issue an order Friday requiring that an Alaska jail provide suitable meals to Muslim inmates as they break their daily fasts during Ramadan.
U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland said at a hearing Thursday that the emergency order generally will resemble a request made by two Muslim inmates who are being held at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. The men asked the judge to order the jail to provide them with nutritionally adequate, pork-free food during Ramadan.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations Legal Defense Fund, on behalf of the men, sought the emergency order and sued state corrections officials this week, arguing that the inmates are not provided adequate nourishment as they break their daily fasts during Ramadan. The Muslim holy month began on May 16 and will end on about June 15, the lawsuit states.
Those observing Ramadan receive bagged meals each evening that range from about 500 and 1,100 calories a day, when the men should be receiving 2,600 to 2,800 calories a day under federal health guidelines, the lawsuit states.
An attorney for the state, Matthias Cicotte, disputed the allegations that the prisoners were deprived.
Thursday’s hearing in Anchorage didn’t settle a discussion on whether the inmates should receive at least 2,600 calories a day or if the daily allowance should average out to that amount over a week.