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Fake Incident Report At Connecticut State Prison Reveals Islamophobic Sentiment

Ryan Caron King
Connecticut Public Radio

The Connecticut chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations has alerted state officials to an act of anti-Islamic hate speech at the Cheshire Correctional Institution.

CAIR-CT sent a letter to Department of Correction Commissioner Angel Quiros Sunday and copied it to the Office of the Attorney General.

In its letter, CAIR-CT said that last month several copies of a fake incident report were found in a printer at the state prison in Cheshire. Hateful language in the report was directed at Shem Brijbilas, a Muslim correctional officer.

Farhan Memon, chairman of CAIR CT, said the document “... contains both offensive language and it also includes coded references to neo-Nazi and white supremacist language.”

A copy of the fake report provided to Connecticut Public includes Islamophobic and homophobic slurs as well as a condemnation of Muslims in America.

In his letter, Memon said the incident creates a hostile workplace that is unsafe for both Muslim people who are incarcerated and staff working in the correctional facility. He said the fake incident report could constitute a hate crime.

According to Memon, Brijbilas experienced a similar type of harassment in 2017. Memon told Connecticut Public that he does not believe the DOC addressed that incident thoroughly.

“Given that in the first instance it was swept under the rug,” Memon said, “I don’t think we can have confidence in the Security Division of the Department of Correction that they are going to handle it appropriately.”

In a statement, the DOC said the most recent matter is under investigation by its Security Division, as well as the Affirmative Action Unit.

The Office of the Attorney General said in a statement that it was aware of the letter and was “deeply troubled by its contents.” Officials said they plan to be in contact with the DOC.

This report was originally published by Connecticut Public Radio.

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Ali reports on the Naugatuck River Valley with an emphasis on work, economic development, and opportunity in the Valley. Her work has appeared on NPR, Marketplace, and The Hartford Courant.
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