US corrections officers 'threw away inmate's Quran'

CAIR urges probe after US corrections officers 'throws away inmate's Quran'
2 min read
24 June, 2021
A US rights group is calling for an investigation into a Maryland facility after a corrections officers reportedly threw away an inmate's Quran.
Corrections officers allegedly threw away an inmate's Quran [Getty/ Archive]

US Muslim rights group is calling for an independent investigation into an incident at a prison in which correction officers reportedly threw away an inmate's Quran.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) made the call after an inmate at the Baltimore Pre-Trial Facility in Maryland alleged that his belongings, including legal documents, clothes and the Islamic religious book, were disposed of.

The inmate said that while he was handcuffed, correctional officers threw away his legal papers, case and trial research preparation, an Arabic Quran, Islamic and religious research and material, court transcripts, complaint forms as well as some articles of clothing.

He said that one of the officers – who he had previously filed complaints against - threatened him with riot control fogger spray, which could be lethal for the inmate due to his asthma and inflamed tonsils.

The inmate says he was not permitted to have his attorney or family members retrieve the items.

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The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services denied the inmate's claims.

"The confiscation and desecration of an inmate’s important legal materials, personal belongings and sacred items is unacceptable and constitutes a gross violation of civil and human rights," the director of CAIR’s Maryland Office, Zainab Chaudry, said.

"The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services' response to the inmate’s complaint regarding this incident has been inadequate. This Muslim incarceree has previously filed complaints about one of the officers involved in this incident, emphasising the need for a thorough and complete investigation."

This isn't the first time allegations have been made of mistreatment of Muslim inmates in US prisons.

Last year, inmates at Virginia's Wallens Ridge State Prison wrote a letter detailing alleged mistreatment, including officers beating Muslim prisoners and withholding their meals.

"The officers make remarks about our faith such as 'Why don't you ask Allah to save you?' and call us wanna-be sand [n-word]," the letter said. "This letter is a cry for help."

Other inmates alleged they were prevented from observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan.