IPR News

Federal prisoner fights prison Muslim prayer rule in Indianapolis federal court

by Gretchen Frazee

August 27, 2012

An American-born Taliban fighter appeared today in an Indianapolis federal court to argue for the ability to pray with other Muslim inmates.  John Walker Lindh is a prisoner at a federal correctional facility in Terre Haute.  Prisoners there have not been allowed to perform a daily prayer together since 2009.  Prison officials say the restrictions are in place for security reasons.  Lindh says his religious rights are being violated.  While on the stand this morning, he said the group prayer posed no legitimate security threat.  The prison’s attorney, Will McCloskey, pointed out Muslim prisoners are allowed to perform many religious acts that do not interfere with security – such as using a prayer rug, observing Ramadan, and reading Islamic texts.  Lindh was captured in 2001 when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan.  He is serving a 20-year sentence for supporting terrorists.  The trial is expected to continue for several days.