Prison Pork Ban: Taste or Religion?

The Obama Administration — via the Justice Department — recently removed pork products from federal prison menus according to a report in The Washington Post.

The federal Bureau of Prisons claims it made the decision based on a survey of prisoners. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) welcomed the move, but immediately said the move was likely to blamed on Islamophobia.

The pork ban initiated last week.

“‘In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates,’ said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group. “We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.'”

There is no doubt Islam plays a role in prison populations. Consider this December 2014 post from

Muslims comprise 15% of the prison population. This number far exceeds the percentage of Muslims in the general population. It is eighteen times greater, to be exact. Put another way, there are about 2.4 million Muslims in the United States and 350,000 of them are in jail. That means more than 12%* of Muslims in America are incarcerated.

Reports on the number of prisoners who convert to Islam vary and are framed in different ways. Some sources estimate 40,000 prisoners per year convert. Others put the numbers closer to 135,000 per year. Some posit that 80% of inmates who “find faith while in prison convert to Islam.”

One thing is for sure: The majority of those who convert to Islam in prison are black, with as many as one in three black prisoners converting. (The number of Hispanic prisoners converting to Islam is also on the rise.)

These numbers are staggering. And the implications are serious … — American

Recently a group called “CoExist House” — a United States and United Kingdom “interfaith group” — called for an outright ban of pork products from all office kitchens in the corporate world so as to not insult Muslims and Jews. Both religions abstain from eating pork products, although Jews have never really attempted to enforce their dietary issues on a wider basis.

“It would be good etiquette to avoid heating up foods that might be prohibited for people of other faiths,” said Andy Dinham, a University of London professor who wrote the guidelines for CoExist House. “We also say, ‘Don’t put kosher or halal and other … special foods next to another [food] or, God forbid, on the same plate.”

Of course, this potential “soft” step toward “Sharia” compliance is issued under the guise of surveys in the prison system where they claim “prisoners just don’t like the taste of pork.”

The nation’s pork lobby are upset, of course, as they’ll now sell less bacon, ham, sausage and pork chops to the prison system.

“The National Pork Producers Council isn’t buying it. ‘I find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No thanks, I don’t want any bacon,'” said Dave Warner, a spokesman for the Washington-based trade association, which represents the nation’s hog farmers. — The Washington Post

So much for a holiday ham — although pigs are certainly rejoicing.

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