Islamic Coalition Seeking Investigation

March 21, 2007

Author: Julie Wernau

Source: The Day

Four groups are seeking an investigation into policies and attitudes directed toward Muslims and other minorities in the state's prison system.

The groups have drafted a letter to Commissioner of Correction Theresa Lantz and said they are looking for more organizations, Muslim and non-Muslim, to sign on before they send it next week.

The action follows The Day's report Saturday that a photograph of Bilal Ansari, the Muslim chaplain, or imam, at J.B. Gates Correctional Institution in Niantic, was defaced with Wite-Out and written over with a racial epithet last month.

The photograph was in the chaplain's locked office, Department of Correction spokesman Brian Garnett said Tuesday. He said the department has referred the matter to state police for a criminal investigation.

Abdullah T. Antepli, coordinator of Islamic Chaplaincy & Interfaith Relations for the Hartford Seminary, said the Connecticut Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut, the Berlin Mosque and the Harmony Foundation represent more than a dozen Islamic organizations.