Taliban Lindh wins right to pray in prison

Jan. 13, 2013 at 12:01 PM

TERRA HAUTE, Ind., Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A U.S. judge has ruled that convicted American Taliban John Lindh and fellow Muslims have the right to group prayers in their Indiana prison.

The federal court agreed that since Muslim inmates at the Indiana prison were allowed to take part in group recreation, they could not be barred from taking part in religious practices as a group.

CNN said the injunction issued Friday prohibited the warden "from enforcing the policy against daily congregate prayer for Muslims, including Mr. Lindh, for whom daily congregate prayer is a sincerely held religious belief."

Lindh, who was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001, and pleaded guilty to a charge of assisting the Taliban by carrying explosives in the commission of a felony. He contended in his request for an injunction that he and fellow Muslims had been allowed to pray daily as a group until 2007 when prison officials limited their gatherings to once a week.

U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson agreed with the contention the policy violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was passed to ensure freedom of religion inside prison walls.

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