17 Muslim inmates at jails in Miami-Dade County are suing the state of Florida–because they don’t like their food.
The lawsuit is being assisted by the ACLU and a group called CAIR-Florida.
The complaint stems from the inmates claiming that they haven’t received halal meals in nearly a year–since October 2014.
Halal meals are part of Islamic law, which dictates which foods may be eaten and how they must be prepared, similar to kosher food under Jewish tradition.
The inmates claim that, by not receiving halal food, they’re being forced to violate their religion–which they claim is a violation of their First Amendment rights to freedom of religion.
Technically, according to the Constitution, these inmates would be entitled to halal meals. But here’s the thing: the Miami-Dade County Rehabilitation Department–which oversees the prisons–are claiming that the prisoners are already given the proper food, and this lawsuit is essentially frivolous.
Miami-Dade County said, in a statement, that “the [rehabilitation] department’s Imam, who has serviced the Muslim inmate population for several years… found the alternative meal currently offered to Muslim inmates to be in accordance with Muslim principles.”
The Miami-Dade County Rehabilitation Department continued that even during Ramadan–the holy month in Islam, where Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset–they continued to give them the same halal food.
The ACLU, CAIR-Florida, and the 17 inmates in the lawsuit believe otherwise. While it’s too early to tell who will prevail in this lawsuit, a successful suit could result in new changes to the United States prison system–forcing them to give more privileges and perks to special groups who demand it.