On Wednesday, a Muslim civil rights group filed a federal lawsuit against a Virginia jail, claiming that it has set up a ‘Christians only’ unit called “god-pod”.
Nearly 30 to 40 inmates in the pod have been shifted, since it was established months ago. According to the council of American-Islamic Relations, the riverside regional jail officials have taken a housing pod for Christian inmates only, who will promise to follow the path shown by the Bible. The Christian pod is violating the constitution by supporting one religion over others.
The accusers have also stated that the group living in the “god-pod” is discriminating Muslims and people of other religions. The jail officials are prohibiting them from participating in any activity based on their faith. Reports also say that the officials didn’t receive the call for justification instantly.
Lena Masri, CAIR’s national litigation director, said that a banner is posted in the Virginia jail with a logo of “Life Learning Program”. The Chaplains in the prison have conducted this course by providing Bible-based programs in 22 states.
Masri also said, “Muslims were not provided food before the morning prayer so those observing the Ramadan fast were not able to eat before beginning their fast. Muslim inmates have complained that they have not had access to regular Islamic classes at the jail.”
In an interview, Masri, who supports other faith groups, said, “You have a state entity that is endorsing and promoting Christianity over other religions, so Riverside has unlawfully sent a message of favoring Christianity over other religions, while at the same time actively preventing other faith groups — including Muslims — from practicing their own faith.”
Christian pod is violating many rules of the government, such as establishing an official religion or promoting one religion over other. The lawsuit asks to order the Virginia jail to dismantle the pod and provide proper food and access to Islamic programming to the Muslim inmates during Ramadan.
Later, a new slogan was posted in the jail, saying that the Life Learning Program is open to inmates “of any faith group.”
Gadeir Abbas, a senior litigation attorney for CAIR, said that the program is for only those people who want to study the Bible and follow its path.
Abbas said, “So really, it isn’t open to inmates of all faiths or it is only open to inmates of other faiths who are looking to convert to Christianity.”
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