CAIR Helps Secure Ramadan Rights for Muslims in D.C. Jail

Aug 16, 2011, 16:51 ET from Council on American-Islamic Relations

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that all of the more than 500 Muslims housed in the District of Columbia Central Detention Facility (D.C. Jail) will now be allowed to participate in activities related to the ongoing break-of-dawn to sunset fast of Ramadan.

A Muslim volunteer at the jail reported to CAIR that only those who checked the "Muslim (Sunni)" religious preference option during intake were permitted to participate in Ramadan activities. Any inmate who checked "Muslim (General)" was not allowed to take part in the activities. (Muslim inmates observing the Ramadan fast are given food before break of dawn and are given a double portion of food in the evening.)

In a letter to the D.C. Department of Corrections, CAIR asked that all Muslim inmates be permitted to participate in Ramadan activities and that the arbitrary terms "Sunni" and "general" be eliminated.

In an August 12 letter to CAIR, department Director Thomas P. Hoey wrote in part:

"[W]e found there has been some unfortunate miscommunication regarding this issue. . .on Wednesday, August 10, 2011 the Warden issued a written statement to the inmate population indicating that anyone declaring himself to be Muslim may participate in services. The memorandum further stated that newly committed inmates declaring themselves as Muslims may also participate."

"We thank the D.C. Department of Corrections for clearing up this miscommunication and for allowing all Muslim inmates to take part in Ramadan activities," said CAIR Legal Counsel Nadhira Al-Khalili.

CAIR publishes two booklets, titled "A Law Enforcement Official's Guide to the Muslim Community" and "A Correctional Institution's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," which outline basic information about Islamic beliefs that are relevant to law enforcement agencies.

SEE: A Law Enforcement Official's Guide to the Muslim Community

A Correctional Institution's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail:

SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations