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The New Arab Staff

Muslim civil liberties organisation to represent Jewish man denied kosher food in US jail

Brandon Resch wasn't able to contact a Rabbi to request kosher meals in jail [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 July, 2020

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says a Michigan jail's refusal to provide kosher meals to a Jewish inmate violates the US constitution and the law.
The US' leading Islamic civil liberties and advocacy organisation has said its Michigan chapter will legally represent a Jewish man denied kosher food while in prison.

The Michigan arm of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), announced on Tuesday it will appear as counsel for plaintiff Brandon Resch, who says Macomb County Jail refused his request to follow a kosher diet in 2017 because he wasn't able to write to a Rabbi and obtain a "letter of good standing".

Announcing it would lead the lawsuit, CAIR-MI Staff Attorney, Amy V Doukoure, said: "Under no circumstances do a person's religious rights depend on whether or not they are a member in good standing of a religious organisation."

"Macomb County's policy of requiring an individual housed in its jail to contact a religious leader - at their own expense and when they may not have access to phone numbers and addresses - to obtain a letter of 'good standing' prior to being afforded a religious diet places an undue burden on the individual's religious practice in violation of the Constitution and the law," she added.

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Doukoure emphasised CAIR-MI's stance to protect religious liberties of followers of all faiths, and that the organisation views this case as a matter of equal importance for both Jews and Muslims who follow a specific diet in accordance with their religious beliefs.

CAIR, the US' largest civil liberties and advocacy group, has published its own guide for correctional facilities staff to help them better understand Islam and its practices.

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