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Day Two Of Lindh Case Defends Treatment Of Muslims In Prison

An imam told the court Tuesday that John Walker Lindh's brand of Islam does not require group prayer.

Federal Courthouse

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

John Walker Lindh took his case to the Federal Courthouse in Indianapolis.

Witnesses on behalf of the federal prison in Terre Haute got their say in federal court Tuesday over whether Muslims at the prison are being unfairly denied the right to pray daily as a group.

Attorneys for the government called two witnesses Tuesday: David Holston, the prison’s supervisory chaplain, and imam Ammar Amonette, the head of the Islamic Center of Virginia.

Amonette says, in general, daily prayer in groups is preferred but only if possible.  He says in the school of Islam American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh practices, prisoners are exempted from congregate prayer requirements.

Holston says the prison and its Communications Management Unit, or CMU, in which Lindh is housed, allow group prayer once a week – in line with federal policy. And Holston says there are security concerns whenever inmates gather together in a group.

Lindh attorney Ken Falk says everyone in the case agrees Muslims want to pray in a group if possible. He says the issue is whether group prayer could and should be allowed on a daily basis.

“Given that the prisoners are out of their cells and free to engage in all sorts of congregate activity and the testimony was the only lawful activity they’re not allowed to do in a group is pray, that it certainly is possible,” Falk says.

The trial is expected to continue for at least the next two days.  Prison intelligence officers and the current and former wardens are the next to testify.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Luzia

    From my understanding of Muslim prayer, and I could be wrong, group prayer is not necessary. Having said that Muslims and other religious sects do something called ablutions – and this is important as well as facing Mecca, and maybe a rug. Ablutions require clean water be available. The water is common in most religions.

  • Pingback: John Walker Lindh « Nick's Blog

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