As salaamu alaikum. I pray that you receive this while in the highest of emaan. Alhamdulillah, you have always been there with us during our years of incarceration, supporting us and letting others know of our situation. As I have not written to you in a while, this is the latest update of our current situation; I hope that you can inform people about our situation, your readers, and also incarcerated Muslims who might end up in the Bureau of Prison’s (BOP) new Special Management Unit (SMU) program, where I am currently being housed.
Prior to arriving at United States Penitentiary (USP) Lewisburg’s SMU program on April 20, 2009, I spent twenty-three months at FCI Terre Haute in the Communications Management Unit (CMU). There has been much reported about that Department of Justice program, its illegality, and its targeting of the Muslims. The CMU program is basically designed to keep a certain group off the prison compounds, and to restrict their communications in an attempt to completely cut them off from the rest of the world. Many a relationship had been harmed or destroyed by this program. May Allah forgive us and help us.
Early this year, Ismail Royer, Sabri Benkhala and I filed a law suit against the BOP over the CMU program. Prior to that, and for the entire duration of my time spent in the CMU, I never had any problem with prison staff, but all of that ended abruptly when the law suit was filed. It was not much more than a month later that I was transferred to USP Lewisburg’s SMU program in retaliation for our law suit.
For a year and a half at CMU the administrative staff had permitted all of us to pray in small groups of three. A short time after filing the law suit, Ismail and I (and one other brother) were given incident reports for praying in a group of three and not cutting our prayer when we were told that we needed to go pray in our cells.
There was no emergency that would have necessitated us leaving the prayer, and we were praying in the same out-of-the-way corner that we had prayed in for months. There is no staff member that had not seen us pray there in the past and this was the first mention of the “pray alone in your cell policy”. The BOP claims that this is the reason for my disciplinary transfer to the SMU – for praying in a group of three. Subhanallah. So, I was transferred to USP Lewisburg.