An Orthodox Jew and convicted murderer serving a 75-year sentence in Beaumont, Texas has convinced the federal appeals court to allow him free kosher meals.
In 2005, Max Moussazadeh filed a lawsuit stating that, by not being allowed to eat kosher foods, the prison was denying him his religious rights. He was one of 29 Orthodox Jews in the Texas prison system, says Daily Mail.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice transferred him to the Stringfellow Unit in Rosharon where they had set up a kosher kitchen and a rabbi was made available.
Moussazedeh was then sent to the higher security Stiles Unit after being found in possession of mysterious substances on three occasions. He was no longer given kosher meals for free, but he was allowed to purchase them.
Moussazedeh re-filed a lawsuit in conjunction with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty over his new imprisonment conditions. He and his lawyers argued that the TDCJ was in violation of the Religious Land Use and the Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, prohibiting a local government from imposing an undue burden on religious practice.
A lower court decided that Moussazedeh was “insincere” in that he occasionally make his way to the regular food line at the prison cafeteria. The American Jewish Committee then pointed out that even the most religious people will “backslide,” as is human nature, and does not prove insincerity.
The Beckett Fund points out that prior to the Moussazadeh lawsuit, Texas was one of the only state prison systems not providing Jewish prisoners free kosher food.
Do you think he deserves his full religious privileges, or is a 75-year sentence for murder enough to strip him of all but basic human rights?