More "anti-discrimination" nonsense
A child-sex offender has been awarded $2000 compensation because he was not given fresh meat prepared in the Muslim way for most of his prison sentence. Sharif Mahommed, a Muslim of Pakistani descent, eats only halal meat - that which has been slaughtered and blessed by Muslim slaughtermen. Halal meat has not touched non-halal meat and cannot be prepared with utensils used on other meat.
Mahommed was the first Muslim Prisoner in Queensland to request halal meat in jail and as a result of his case, 12 prisoners now receive fresh halal meat.
Minister for Corrective Services Judy Spence has now directed her department to launch a Supreme Court appeal against the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal's decision to grant Mahomrned compensation. "I am concerned that this decision could open the floodgates to other prisoners requesting all manner of special diets." she said. "Prisoners' medical and religious dietary needs are met in correctional centres across the state within reason.
The list of special diets provided to Queensland prisoners includes vegetarian; no pork, ham or bacon; no seafood; Asian; diabetic; soft food; no mushroom; low fat; low salt; no salt; gluten-free; no curry; no pineapple; no lactose; high fibre; and vitamised.
Mahommed, a child-sex offender who was jailed for eight years in 2000 and released last year after serving five years, asked for fresh halal meat when he was first imprisoned. After being retused fresh halal meat he lodged a complaint with Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission on the grounds that he was discriminated against on the basis of his religious beliefs.
At an Anti-Discrimination Tribunal hearing last year Mahommed said for his first 10 months in Wolston Correctional Centre he was given the general prison diet, and did not eat meat. He lost a substantial amount of weight while at the prison, the tribunal heard. In 2001 he was offered tinned halal meat if he paid 67c a meal. This cost later was waived but Mahommed stopped eating tinned beef and mutton as it was too fatty and salty. Four months after he was moved to Palen Creek Correctional Centre in 2002 he was given a vegetarian diet with supplements of nuts, cheese and eggs and tinned halal meat. He did not get fresh halal meat until November 2003.
Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Tribunal found Mahommed was discriminated against. Tribunal President Jean Dalton said Mahommed found the vegetarian diet unpalatable. "He received substantially more than his fair share of unacceptable meals because he was put on a vegetarian diet when he was not vegetarian and was not, until November 2003, ever served fresh meat. "At the time fresh halal meat was difficult to source and extremely expensive, so he was provided with canned meat instead."
The above report appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on June 11, 2006.
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