Beliefnet News

United Press International
Washington – Prisons in the United States are following a government directive to purge their libraries of religious books, causing outrage among many inmates.
The action, according to a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons, was prompted by a 2004 report listing things prisons should do to avoid becoming recruiting grounds for militant Islamic and other religious groups, The New York Times reported Monday.
Mark Earley, president of the Christian group Prison Fellowship, said removing all religious books from the libraries amounts to overkill.
“It’s swatting a fly with a sledgehammer,” Earley told the Times. “There’s no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism.”
Last month two inmates at a federal prison camp in upstate New York filed a class-action lawsuit charging the Bureau of Prisons with violating their rights to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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