Guest / Limited Access /

U.S. prison officials have removed hundreds of religious texts, including Christian discipleship materials, from prison chapel libraries in an effort to prevent religious extremism.

Inmates of the minimum-security prison camp at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in New York filed suit after they found the library missing 600 titles on Memorial Day, the Associated Press reported.

"The set of books that have been taken out have been ones that we used to minister to new converts when they come in here," Christian inmate John Okon told a judge last week, according to the news service. Okon, along with inmates Moshe Milstein and Douglas Kelly, are asking the court to order the titles returned to the prison chapel library.

The library cull was in response to an April 2004 Department of Justice review of U.S. prisons' recruitment and use of Muslim chaplains.

The Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General commissioned the report in 2003 in response to U.S. senators' concerns that Muslim chaplains were recruited only from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences (GSISS). Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., alleged that that the organizations are connected to terrorism and Wahhabism. DOJ researchers found that recruitment and supervision of Muslim religious service providers was deficient and that a form of "prison Islam," sometimes radical, thrives in the absence of chaplains. However, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has not accepted an ISNA candidate since 2001, and the GSISS has never endorsed a U.S. prison religious worker.

In one of its 16 recommendations for the BOP, the DOJ suggested that officials screen chapel books and videos and maintain a central ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Support Christian thought journalism. Donate to our nonprofit ministry today.
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueOur Sustaining Force
Subscriber Access Only Our Sustaining Force
How the gospel truth lightens our load.
RecommendedGlobal Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Global Evangelical Leaders: Trump’s Win Will Harm the Church’s Witness
Conference call explores election consequences on evangelicals overseas.
TrendingWhy Do We Have Christmas Trees?
Why Do We Have Christmas Trees?
The history behind evergreens, ornaments, and holiday gift giving.
Editor's PickThe Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
The Bible Never Says ‘All Men Are Created Equal’
How the New Testament offers a better, higher calling than the Declaration of Independence.
Christianity Today
Book Bust
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2007

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.