‘Don’t blame Muslims for prison pork ban’
America’s pork producers are in an uproar after the federal government last week abruptly removed all pork products from the national menu for 206,000 federal inmates.
But the move delighted the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group, which yesterday tweeted:
Finally, the government has decided to eliminate pork – from the menu in federal prison.
CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper elaborated here:
In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates.
We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.
Hooper predicted that anti-Islam groups would spin the decision into a case of the federal government acting under pressure from Muslims.
This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy. It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.
The reason given for the removal of bacon, pork chops, ham and all other pig products was that prisoners don’t like the taste.
Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the prison bureau, asked:
Why keep pushing food that people don’t want to eat? Pork has been the lowest-rated food by inmates for several years.
Hogwash, says the National Pork Producers Council.
Dave Warner, a spokesman for the Washington-based trade association, said:
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’.
We’re going to find out how this came about and go from there. We wouldn’t rule out any options to resolve this.
He said the association “is still formulating our strategy” to reverse the prison decision, which the industry first learned about on Monday.
Warner said pork is healthy and economical, especially for a big buyer like the federal government.
Not to throw beef under the bus, but we cost a lot less than beef.
We’re nutritious. A boneless pork chop or loin is a very healthy alternative to lots of other foods. If you compare a pork tenderloin to a rib eye steak and a boneless chicken breast, we come out pretty well.
Observant Muslims and Jews are forbidden to eat pork, and the prison system has long made accommodations for them by providing alternatives to pork and halal and kosher foods.
Ross declined to say whether there has been an increase in Muslim or Jewish inmates in recent years and whether that may have factored into the survey responses.