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Indiana - Judge Okays Group Prayers For Muslim Inmates

Published on: January 12, 2013 09:35 PM
By: Reuters
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FILE - This undated file photo obtained from a religious school where he studied for five months in Bannu, near Islamabad, Pakistan shows American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh. A U.S. judge on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 ruled that the convicted Taliban fighter should be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at their high-security prison in Indiana. The judge ruled that the prison was violating Lindh's and other Muslim inmates' religious freedom by banning them from engaging in daily ritual prayer. (AP Photo/File)FILE - This undated file photo obtained from a religious school where he studied for five months in Bannu, near Islamabad, Pakistan shows American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh. A U.S. judge on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 ruled that the convicted Taliban fighter should be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at their high-security prison in Indiana. The judge ruled that the prison was violating Lindh's and other Muslim inmates' religious freedom by banning them from engaging in daily ritual prayer. (AP Photo/File)

Indiana - John Walker Lindh, known as the “American Taliban,” and other Muslims housed in an Indiana prison have the right to congregate for daily group prayer sessions, a federal judge ruled on Friday.

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The decision by officials at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, to ban daily group prayers for Muslim inmates violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said.

The ruling came in a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Lindh, who was captured in Afghanistan and imprisoned in the United States after the September 11, 2001, attacks, and two other Muslim inmates.

The case was argued before Magnus-Stinson last August.

Prison officials cited security reasons for prohibiting inmates from getting together five times a day for unsupervised ritual prayer services.

But the court noted that the prisoners were not otherwise confined to their cells during these times and were permitted to engage in other group activities such as talking, watching videos and playing games.

The judge also said the prison had sophisticated audio and video surveillance equipment in place for monitoring prisoner activities.

Magnus-Stinson gave the prison warden 60 days to come up with a new policy for Muslim prayer.

Lindh, who was born in the United States, has been in prison since 2002. He pleaded guilty to supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony.

Lindh is currently considered a low-security risk among the prison population, according to court documents. He is allowed to play contact sports and cards, and to watch television and movies, including Muslim videos in Arabic, the ruling said.

 

 


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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jan 12, 2013 at 10:17 PM Anonymous Says:

The courts have consistently ruled that you don't forfeit your rights to religious observance when you go to prison. This troubled kid is no exception. His father is a senior lawyer in the California state government and continues to be supportive of his son and society should not give up on him either.

2

 Jan 12, 2013 at 10:40 PM CherryKnish Says:

That defies logic. That is really stupid & dangerous. 'He is allowed to play contact sports and cards, and to watch television and movies, including Muslim videos in Arabic, the ruling said.' Sounds like a five-star hotel to me, not a prison !!!

3

 Jan 12, 2013 at 11:03 PM Anonymous Says:

Will the same apply for Jewish prayer? Currently, each religious group gets one group prayer session and one group study session in most federal prisons. Usually one weekday morning there is Jewish group study and friday night there is Jewish minyan. Maybe now there will be more daily minyanim? Probably no room for it though.

4

 Jan 13, 2013 at 12:38 AM Facts1 Says:

Reply to #2  
CherryKnish Says:

That defies logic. That is really stupid & dangerous. 'He is allowed to play contact sports and cards, and to watch television and movies, including Muslim videos in Arabic, the ruling said.' Sounds like a five-star hotel to me, not a prison !!!

Not exactly a five star hotel, every house has those privileges.

5

 Jan 13, 2013 at 12:52 AM esther Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

Will the same apply for Jewish prayer? Currently, each religious group gets one group prayer session and one group study session in most federal prisons. Usually one weekday morning there is Jewish group study and friday night there is Jewish minyan. Maybe now there will be more daily minyanim? Probably no room for it though.

i understand your concern but it's the muslim religion it self that got all these men into trouble in the first place but that's the aclu.always concerned for the criminals and never the victims.

6

 Jan 13, 2013 at 09:34 AM CherryKnish Says:

A Jewish inmate was just denied the same rights by a Kentucky judge. That's gross discrimination consistent with America discriminating against Jews & sticking up for Muslims & Arabs.

7

 Jan 13, 2013 at 10:03 AM CherryKnish Says:

Yeah, why is this murderer still alive? He deserves the death penalty Asap. Why is our tax money supporting him to live in comfort? 'He is allowed to play contact sports and cards, and to watch television and movies, including Muslim videos in Arabic'. They should have hard labor for criminals like this who plotted to mass-murder Americans.
Like you say, the courts are always concerned for the criminals, not the victims.

8

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