An update on Taliban John. The question is why is the judge consulting an imam and sharia law? Don’t we live in the United States under U.S. law not under sharia? via Imam: Lindh Can Pray Alone Under Religious Rules – Indiana News Story – WRTV Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS — An imam disputed American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh’s claim that Islam requires him to do his ritual daily prayers as part of a group, even though he’s in prison.
Ammar Amonette testified Tuesday in federal court in Indianapolis that he and Lindh adhere to the same Hanbali school of Islam and that it excuses followers from praying in groups if it isn’t possible. Amonette leads a mosque in Richmond, Va.
Amonette’s testimony comes on the second day of trial in Lindh’s lawsuit challenging a rule allowing only supervised group prayer at the tightly controlled federal prison unit in Terre Haute, Ind., where he’s serving a 20-year sentence.
The government said it can’t allow daily group prayer because of security concerns and because it doesn’t employ enough Muslim chaplains.
INDIANAPOLIS — American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and other Muslims housed at a special federal prison unit in Indiana have used the guise of religion to show defiance toward their captors, a prison security official testified Wednesday.
Lindh, who is suing to overturn a policy preventing him and the other Muslims he’s housed with from performing their five daily prayers as a group, once delivered an incendiary sermon in Arabic at the Terre Haute prison’s Communication Management Unit despite a requirement that inmates speak English except for ritual prayers, security official Tim Coleman testified.
But government witnesses testified that Muslims, who make up the majority of inmates in the Communications Management Unit at the prison complex at Terre Haute, Ind., have operated like a gang under the guise of religious activity. Prison officials said Muslims have assaulted each other over religious disputes on at least one occasion and organized to intimidate other inmates.
“It almost appeared like a gang-like activity,” Bureau of Prisons counterterrorism chief Leslie Smith said, referring to an October 2007 incident in which he said five Muslim inmates attacked another one over what he said were religious differences. “We normally see that with gangs.”
One of the inmates involved in that assault testified earlier this week that the fight had nothing to do with religion.
Weekly religious gatherings are permitted for inmates of all faiths, along with additional ceremonies during high holy days such as Christmas or Ramadan, officials testified. Extending Muslim group prayers to a daily basis would strain prison resources and likely foster resentment unless the same opportunity was extended to all inmates.
“They would demand it,” said Charles Lockett, a former warden at Terre Haute. “They would absolutely demand it.”
The prison complex would have to hire 84 chaplains to provide daily prayers for all inmates, he said, which would cost $8.4 million a year. The prison’s budget is about $94 million a year, Lockett testified.
American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana legal director Ken Falk objected repeatedly to much of both men’s testimony, calling it hearsay, and U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson mostly sustained his objections.
That bodes well for sharia.