BC: Muslim files complaint after Kamloops jail told him to use a towel as a prayer mat

KAMLOOPS – A Muslim man has filed a human rights complaint alleging the staff at the Kamloops jail refused to allow him to practise his religion while he was behind bars.

Andrew Monnette, 25, claims officials from Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre would not give him access to a halal diet, a Qur’an or a prayer mat – instead offering him a towel as a stand-in.

Monnette is asking the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to make an order that inmates of all faiths be allowed to access to their religious materials. He is also asking that he be compensated for “significant anxiety” he claims to have experienced at the jail.

He alleges in his complaint to the tribunal that discrimination against him began in April 2014, when he was in the centre awaiting trial on a string of assault and firearms charges, and continued until his transfer to a Prince George jail last December…