January 11, 2013
Johnny Jihad Wins Prison Prayer Lawsuit
INDIANAPOLIS — A federal judge ruled Friday that an American convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban must be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at his high-security prison in Indiana.Gawd
Barring John Walker Lindh and his fellow Muslims from engaging in daily group ritual prayer violates a 1993 law that bans the government from curtailing religious speech without showing a compelling interest, U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled.
The judge blocked the prison from enforcing its ban on daily group prayer, but she noted that her ruling does not prohibit the prison from taking less restrictive security measures[...]
Prison officials argued that the same restrictions applied to inmates of all religions. They also argued that it would be dangerous, unaffordable and unfair to other inmates to meet Lindh's demands. Government witnesses testified that Muslims, who make up the majority of inmates in the unit, have operated like a gang under the guise of religious activity.
U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett, whose office represented the prison, said Friday that prosecutors were considering their next step, including a possible appeal.
"This case deals with critically important issues that have significance both inside and outside the walls of our federal prison facilities," Hogsett said. "Our concern continues to be the safety and security of both our federal prison system and the United States of America."[More...]
ACLU related: The ACLU’s Islamist Connections