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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Muslim Guard at Brooklyn Jail Claims Post-September 11 Abuse

A Muslim correctional officer at the federal jail in Brooklyn was harassed by other guards following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to a federal lawsuit filed recently in federal court in Brooklyn.

The officer, Tarik Farag, claims his colleagues pelted him with insults, calling him "bin Laden" and accusing him of links to Al Qaeda, according to the legal complaint. The alleged harassment lasted through 2004.

Mr. Farag began working for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in 1998, serving both as a technician for the inmate telephone system and as a correctional officer, according to the lawsuit. He quit in February, citing a hostile work environment and the discrimination he faced, according to the complaint.

Mr. Farag, a Muslim man who was born in Egypt, found some of the correctional officer training to be demeaning because it suggested a link between Muslim ritual and terrorist violence. Mr. Farag was humiliated by a training scenario that involved Muslim prisoners taking hostages and using prayer rugs for body armor, according to the complaint.The complaint also alleges that one counterterrorism instructor told correction officers "that the Muslims to watch out for" are the ones who "rigorously" wash their hands and feet. [Link]

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