Sunday, June 10, 2012


by Justice For Shifa on Friday, June 1, 2012

In April 2012, Shifa and a group of Muslim
American political prisoners in the Communication
Management Unit (CMU) at Marion, IL went on
hunger strike. Since September 2011 the new
Warden and her staff have been horribly abusing
and violating Muslim inmates increasingly--
harassing during individual and congregational
prayer times, revoking religiously prescribed
meal, banning educational programs, torturing
with lights on in the cells 24/7, and terminating
communication with the outside world-- and
denying their constitutionally granted human
rights. Seeing the atrocious mistreatment of
Muslim prisoners, the non-Muslim inmates also
went on hunger strike in solidarity. The Warden
tried to silence Muslim prisoners by punishing
them in solitary confinement and barring their communication.

Although Shifa has been removed from Marion-CMU
to Terre Haute, Indiana, Justice for Shifa
Support Committee stands in solidarity with the
Muslim political prisoners who have been on
hunger strike in the Communication Management
Unit (CMU) at the Federal Penitentiary at Marion,
IL. Faith-based segregated imprisonment and
isolation at the CMU-Marion egregiously targets,
discriminates, silences and abuses a minority
religious group collectively. At its core it
also represses a group for practicing their faith
and demanding their constitutionally granted
rights to religious freedom. We see clear lines
connecting the CMU-Marion struggle to the
California hunger striker's struggle-- demanding
their constitutional and human rights-- and
preceding decades of prisoner-led demands to
their rights throughout the prison system.

The demands of Muslim prisoners include:
religiously prescribed meal, individual and
congregational prayers, religious and spiritual
classes and educational programs, and contacts
with family and friends. The CMU-Marion
political prisoners' demands resonate strongly
with what Justice for Shifa Support Committee
believes are part of our human rights to freedom
of religion and granting these rights to
prisoners is a way to make our communities free
of religious bigotry and racial oppression.

We believe the US Government established these
two 'secret' units, CMUs in Illinois and Indiana,
inside the Federal Prison System to harass and
prevent Muslim prisoners from practicing their
faith. We believe the US-state is violently
engaged in 'missionary tactics' using the CMUs to
assimilate and make Muslims into non-Muslims-- by
banning their basic spiritual and religious
practices and education-- in violation of the US
Constitution and the Universal Decleration of Human Rights.

We encourage people everywhere to stand in
solidarity with the CMU-Marion political prisoner
hunger strikers and forge connections across the
prison walls meant to disappear so many of our
loves ones, friends and neighbors.

Justice for Shifa Support Committee demands an
investigation into the incidences at CMU-Marion,
removal of the abusive Warden, and a stop to all
missionary tactics of the government under the
guise of fighting the War on Terror.

Stand in Solidarity with CMU-Marion Political
Prisoners and Send the Following Letter to the
Warden and the Following Officials.


Wendy J. Roal, Warden
4500 Prison Rd
Marion, IL 62959

Dear Warden Roel,

I am writing to express my deep
concern over the pattern of harassment and
mistreatment of Muslim inmates while in your
custody in the Communication Management Unit (CMU) at USP-Marion.

It appears that your administration
has recently placed many Muslims in solitary
confinement without explanation. In addition,
their right to freely practice the Muslim faith
has been severely impaired on multiple occasions,
forcing them to go on a hunger strike. Numerous
CMU inmates from your facility have been
complaining about illegal activities that your
administration and staff are engaging in to deny
Muslim religious and spiritual services under the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the
Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons
Act (RLUIPA) and BOP regulations as well as the First Amendment.

According to reports, these abuses
have worsened since your administration began in
September 2011. The reports allege either you
personally or your staff are engaging in the
following pattern of misconduct and illegal behavior:

1) Walking in on Muslims in the
Chapel during Friday religious services and interrupting
service while the Muslim preacher delivers the sermon.
2) Cancelling several religious and
spiritual classes that were approved by the Bureau of
Prison staff and taught for several months before your arrival.
3) Refusing to provide religiously
prescribed Muslim meals, Halal meals and food items
which were approved by the Chaplain and Trust Fund Supervisor at the BOP.
4) Barring Muslim inmates from observing
religious practices and holidays
5) Causing health problems by keeping lights on in the cells 24/7
6) Harassing Muslim inmates during
their individual and congregational prayers
7) Denying Muslims morning prayer
8) Banning congregational Muslim prayer
9) Stopping all educational and
rehabilitative programs for Muslims
10) Prohibiting communication with the outside world

The Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA)
protects the religious rights of federal inmates.
See Cutter v. Wilkinson, 544 U.S. 709 (2005). It
appears that your facility has been involved in
serious discrimination against Muslim inmates. I
request that the following actions be taken immediately.

· Provide information on protocol and
procedures regarding maintenance of prisoner
safety, adherence to prisoner requests regarding
communication with family members;
· Provide information about measures that
have been taken to ensure CMU Muslim inmates are
able to observe and practice their faith freely;
· Provide information to NCPCF about the
current steps taken to ensure Muslim inmates are
not harassed and disturbed during individual and congregational prayer;
· Ensure that Muslim inmates
constitutionally protected right to freely
practice their religion is not being violated
while they are in your facility;
· Provide all Muslim inmates with a formal written apology;
· Ensure Muslim inmates will not be
retaliated against as a result of this complaint;
· Compensate all Muslim inmates for the
emotional distress they may have suffered as a
result of the extreme illegal discrimination;
· Provide information about the type of
cultural and religious sensitivity training is
conducted for corrections personnel;
I look forward to a positive and
swift resolution to this matter. Issues of such
severe violations of civil and religious rights
are of grave concern to me as an American
citizen. I will continue to monitor this
situation very closely and take any appropriate
action that it deems necessary, including seeking
further public attention for this case.

I appreciate you taking prompt
action to remedy these serious issues inside CMU-Marion.



Thomas E. Perez
Assistant Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Office of the Assistant Attorney General
Washington, DC 20530

Michael E. Horowitz
Inspector General
US Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Patrick Leahy
United States Senate
Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Manfred Nowak
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson
52 Rue Des Paquis
CH - 201 Geneva, Switzerland

Congressman John Conyers
United States House of Representative
2426 Rayburn H.O.B
Washington, DC 20515

Attorney Alan Mills
Uptown People's Law Center
4413 N. Sheridan
Chicago, IL 60640

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