Canadian Muslim Chaplain Calls Prison Cuts A ‘Fatwa’ By Harper Conservatives

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Toews’ Christian Chaplains Minister To All Faiths Called “Hogwash.”

Inmates of other faiths, such as Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews, will be expected to turn to Christian prison chaplains for religious counsel and guidance.

HALIFAX – One of three Muslim spiritual leaders who used to visit prisoners in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia says he’s upset the federal government will only pay for Christian spiritual leaders from now on.

It was reported last week that the federal government is cancelling the contracts of non-Christian chaplains at federal prisons.

Inmates of other faiths, such as Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews, will be expected to turn to Christian prison chaplains for religious counsel and guidance.

The cancellations will take effect by the end of March.

There are nearly 15,000 inmates in federal custody and a large majority of them identify themselves as Christian:

Zia Khan is an imam and the director of the Centre for Islamic Development in Halifax.

He has visited about 70 inmates over the past two years; until the word came last week that their contracts will not be renewed.

“Last time we went, we said, ‘See you in the beginning of October,’ and all of a sudden, this fatwa, if you would call it, came down from the mountain,” he told CBC news.

“It’s an egregious violation of the charter, and I think people need to stand up and really say something because I think the country is starting towards a wrong end.”

Khan said the claim by federal cabinet minister Vic Toews that having Christian chaplains minister to all faiths is the fairest option is “hogwash.”