CLCMA Restores Right to Religious Texts in Florida Institution

CLCMA is pleased to announce that we have restored the right to religious texts for a Muslim man institutionalized in a Florida civil commitment center.

Like many Muslim inmates nationwide, Mr. Larry Stanfill found that his institution had a lack of Islamic reading material. Unfortunately, he could not purchase the books himself because of his indigent status. Often, prisons are in remote regions far from Muslim population hubs so getting donated material can also be difficult.

Mr. Stanfill contacted CLCMA to voice concern that he was being denied access to important and intergral hadith books such as Abu Dawud, Bukhari, and other volumes that are considered to be narrated by the most authentic sources and form a supplement to Quranic authority. He emphasized his desire to learn more about Islam and to be able to practice it according to his sincerely held beliefs and according to Islamic authority.

Unfortunately, when he requested that these books be purchased or that he be given permission to seek donations, he was denied. The reason he was given was a lack of space. However, shortly after CLCMA’s intervention, the institution has now ordered these texts so that Mr. Stanfill and any other interested persons can access these books to expand their knowledge and practice their religion to the best of their ability.

Access to religious texts is an important right that is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Where personal freedoms are limited so severely, religion can serve as a reprieve and has been correlated with lower recidivism rates.

We are grateful to the institution administrators’ willingness to resolve this matter informally and expeditiously. We remain resolved to continue fighting for the religious rights of incarcerated Muslims nationwide.