As the Council on American-Islamic Relations cries Islamaphobia, a recent policy move by the Obama administration has been overturned after encountering direct questions about its supposed rationale.

Following the Federal Bureau of Prison’s decision to ban all pork products from being served to more than 200,000 inmates in 122 prisons, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) challenged the Bureau of Prisons Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. to back up the statements offered to justify the move.

Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, represents the farm state of Iowa, which is the top producer of pork in the country raising more than 20 million hogs a year.

Obama’s administration implemented the change on October 1, the beginning of the fiscal new year for the federal government, claiming that pork was no longer popular among inmates and was a more expensive protein source than beef and chicken.

“To corroborate the validity of the claim that prisoners indicated a lack of interest in pork products, I am requesting copies of the prisoner surveys and responses that were used to support the determination to no longer serve pork in federal prisons. Please provide any economic evaluations the Bureau of Prisons has relied on that detail the cost of pork as compared to beef, chicken, and non-meat products such as tofu and soy products.”

Hours later, the “other white meat” was reinstated without comment.

Bureau spokesman Edmond Ross had claimed in October, “Pork has been the lowest-rated food by inmates for several years,” but was unable to comment on the government’s sudden shift in policy on Thursday. “I’m not cleared to say anything and I don’t have answers for you.”

Although CAIR insisted it had not lobbied for the pork ban on behalf of Muslim inmates in federal prisons, the group applauded the October decision saying it made it easier for Muslims to adhere to a halal diet. The designation ‘halal’ is similar to that of ‘kosher,’ describing both the food and the method of preparation for observant faithful.

The Obama administration’s reversal of the decision was seized upon by Hooper as “symptomatic of rising Islamaphobia.”


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