Muslim Men Sue L.A. Sheriff’s Department, Alleging Religious Discrimination in Jail

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The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department's men's central jail is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s men’s central jail is seen in an undated photo. (Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

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Three Muslim men are suing the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, alleging they were denied access to an observant diet and proper religious garments and texts, while the same accommodations were made for inmates of other faiths.

The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, argues that the Sheriff’s Department has engaged in a “systematic effort to disfavor Muslim inmates and their spiritual needs over those of inmates of other faiths.”

The three men claim staff inside the Men’s Central Jail either delayed, or in some cases outright denied, their access to foods consistent with a halal diet, copies of the Quran or time for weekly prayer, according to the lawsuit. The men also contend deputies heavily scrutinized their knowledge of the Islamic faith before deciding whether or not they should have access to a halal diet.

A spokesman for the county referred questions to the Sheriff’s Department, which did not respond to a request for comment.

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