Muslim inmate sues over jail's diet Prisoner held in Balto. Co. files $1 million suit.

January 03, 1992|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff

A Baltimore County man who is in jail on charges that he burglarized a Woodlawn apartment has filed a $1 million suit in Circuit Court claiming that as a Muslim he has suffered discrimination while in the county detention center.

Gerald Lee Mitchell, 46, who goes by the name Abdullah Ali Muhammad, contends in a complaint that, among other things, the detention center fails to provide a "pork substitute" for him.

"The Islamic faith is under a vow, that is, refraining from the eating or touching of pork, and/or swine," Mitchell says in his two-page, handwritten complaint.

In addition, Mitchell charges that he suffers anguish because the detention center refuses to recognize his Muslim name.

James Dean, administrator at the detention center, said the policy is to ask inmates entering the detention center whether or not they are of the Islamic faith. If so, they are given special boxed lunches during Ramadan, an Islamic month of daytime fasting.

Currently, there about 35 Muslims housed in the Baltimore County Detention Center, said Dean.

"Do we provide a pork substitute?" Dean said. "No. But if they do not want to eat pork, they can have an extra serving of something else."

According to court records, Mitchell was arrested Nov. 14 and charged with the July 27 break-in at a Woodlawn apartment, in which a video recorder was stolen.

He is being held in the detention center on $50,000 bond, pending his Feb. 12 trial.

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