Are Muslims Being Discriminated Against?
Ali Khalid Abdullah, Prisonersolidarity.org
May 5, 2007
has been brought to my attention that Muslim prisoners at Smith
State Prison (SSP), in Georgia, are having problems with prison
officials for making prayer in congregation. According to one prisoner
at SSP, Abdus-Salam Karim, the Warden at SSP, Don Jarriel
and other Deputy Wardens, have come out with a memorandum prohibiting
them from making congregational prayer, and requiring them to make
their prayers in their respective cells (read Karim's Prisonersolidarity
the Muslims have been making their congregational prayers in the
past, without incident, why would the warden and his staff suddenly
come out with a memorandum prohibiting them from making prayers
-- unless the officials are looking for a reason to create hostilities?
off, Muslims are obligated to make five prayers per day. Unlike
Judaism, Christianity, and other religions, the Islaamic religion
mandates that Muslims pray five times per day without exception.
In fact, prayer is the second pillar of Islaam. These five pillars
Islaam are as follows:
The belief in One God (whom Muslims call "Allaah")
b) The observance of Prayer (which is to be performed five times
c) Fasting during the month of Ramadhan
d) The belief in charity
e) To visit the Kabah (or House of Abraham [Ibrihim] in Mecca.
acts are noble and they are healthy, especially for the prisoners
who were once criminally-minded and have transformed themselves
to such a degree that they take their belief in God (Allaah) very
seriously, and do not think in the criminal mindset anymore. It
would seem like it would please prison officials to have one less
segment within the prison system involved in volatile or illegal
activities. So why would the Warden and his staff suddenly come
out with a memo to hinder these men - men who only wish to pray
and grow in their religion - from praying together?
is a well-known fact that, even before the events of 9/11 (and especially
since 9/11), Muslims throughout the U.S. prison system have faced
various forms of religious discrimination, prejudice and overt acts
acts are usually aggravated by a governmental rhetoric that gives
the impression that all who practice Islam are somehow "terrorists,"
or out to destroy the government. Such rhetoric gives the okay for
prison officials to act with impunity in how they treat
Muslims within their institutions. Because the public has been brainwashed
to view all Muslims with disdain, it is easy to see why Muslims
are facing such hostile times, whether inside a prison, or on the
United States Supreme Court and various other federal and state
courts have ruled that religious discrimination is a violation of
one's Constitutional Rights under the First Amendment and Fourteenth
Amendment, and in some cases particular acts can also violate the
Eight Amendment. But justice in America has never been unbiased
or non-prejudicial, because justice - true justice - has never been
issued out to reach all people equally and fairly. And - since its
conception - America has always treated all religions that do not
rest on the concepts and scriptural doctrines of the bible as heathen,
and unworthy of full recognition. To disregard this fact - to ignore
the reality of this statement - would be hypocritical, and a blatant
denial of what America is and what it has wrapped herself around
in terms of religious doctrine.
was the bible that the U.S. used to justify enslaving millions of
African people. It was the bible that was used to negate and slaughter
millions of the various First Nations (ala "Native American")
people when Europeans came here and took their land. It was the
bible that was used to form such groups as the Ku Klux Klan (who
were all proclaimed "Christians"). It is the bible that
your Aryan Brotherhood groups use as their religious authority.
It was the bible that caused the people in Central and South America
to be colonized, murdered, raped, and their history pillaged by
the Spanish and Portuguese.
Destroying the Mestizo's and the Arawaks, to name two, so thoroughly
where they now claim to be "Latino/a" people, taking on
the historical identity of their Latin oppressors. All of this (and
I could name plenty more examples) has happened in the name of the
bible, but no one has ever suggested that all Christians and/or
people who believe in the bible are somehow terrorists and criminals.
Nor are they hounded and persecuted. But this is how Muslims and
Islaam is being portrayed.
is why we find Muslims in the prison system being denied their right
to freely and uninhibitedly worship in their own way. That is why
the prison officials at SSP in Georgia need to be sent a strong
message that they can't get away with religious prejudice and
persecution. I am a Muslim and as a Muslim it would be irresponsible
and reprehensible of me to demean all who do not follow the teachings
of Islam. I would not only be wrong, but I would violate the very
book I claim to follow, i.e., the Holy Qur'aan, because in this
book it says that we (Muslims) are not to show disregard towards
other people's religious beliefs. It tells us that we must respect
other's rights of worship and not to denigrate anyone for their
beliefs, and that there is no compulsion in religion. So why are
harassed by a prison system that, first off, does not fully understand
or respect them, and secondly, isn't even living up to its own religious
views under Christianity?
the answer is simple: America is what it is ... a nation of racist
bigots, vexed with all kinds of hypocrisy. Any time someone wishes
only to pray, rather than read a pornography magazine; any time
a person would rather pray than chase other men for sex; any time
one wishes to pray rather than gamble or exploit others; then there
problem. Because this behavior doesn't fit the desire and the plan
of the prison scheme. The prison scheme thrives on chaos, rape,
brutality, exploitation and nonsense rules and procedures in order
to get the kinds of negative reactions needed from prisoners - so
prison can obtain more money and the guards can keep "their"
That is the real issue is. Job security and keeping up the religious
hysteria against Muslims and Islaam, so that (from the White House
to the Big House of Prisons) this economic agenda can be carried
Ali Khalid Abdullah has few contacts on "the outside,"
and would particularly like to make contact with a pen pal or organization
from Michigan, who would be willing to visit him in prison. If you'd
like to respond to this essay, you may write to Ali at the below
Muskegon Correctional Facility
2400 S. Sheridan Rd.
Khalid Abdullah has been incarcerated since 1990 for taking action
against a known drug dealer for the sexual molestation of an 11-year-old
girl, because her mother owed a crack debt. Abdullah was ambushed,
shot in the chest, and left for dead as a result of street information
circulating that he was going to deal with the perpetrators. After
recovering from the hospital, he sought to attack several businesses
the drug dealer owned as fronts for selling drugs. Abdullah and
friends confronted the employees, and discovered that they did not
know what was going on. They left without taking any money, or causing
any harm. But Abdullah was arrested and sentenced to 6 ½-20
years for "Assault with Intent to Rob While Armed." He
has been denied parole since 1996, and discharges in July 2008.
following link offers tips for writing to prisoners: http://prisonersolidarity.org/TipsForWritingPrisoners.htm