Texas: Muslim convict demands sharia, court agrees

Source: Court: Texas can’t ban longer beards on Muslim inmates | www.statesman.com

Texas prison officials cannot prohibit Muslim inmates from growing a beard up to four inches long or from donning religious head wear, a federal appeals court has ruled.

David Rasheed Ali, serving concurrent 20-year sentences for arson and aggravated robbery, filed suit seven years ago arguing that the tenets of his religion required him to wear a beard and a kufi, a knit skullcap.

Ali’s lawsuit continued because he was seeking to wear a four-inch beard and because he wanted to wear a kufi in all areas of prison, not only in his cell or during religious services as allowed by Texas prison policy.

Prison officials argued that a longer beard and kufi posed security risks, making it easier to hide contraband and more difficult to identify inmates — either by hiding tattoos and other distinctive marks inside prison, or by allowing escaped inmates to quickly change their appearance.

But in a ruling delivered Monday, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Texas prison system’s grooming and religious head wear policies violated a federal law that protects the religious practice of inmates.

“Although we must respect a prison official’s expertise” on safety matters, Justice Edward Prado wrote for the court’s three-judge panel, the U.S. Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act requires policies that infringe on religious practice to be the “least restrictive” possible.

Under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s procedures, corrections officers require inmates with longer hair to shake it out with their fingers to prove it is free of contraband — a policy that would work on four-inch beards as well, Prado wrote.

“TDCJ could revoke an inmate’s beard privilege if he abused it or refused to comply with the searches,” Prado said, adding that the same confiscation policy also applies to kufis and other religious head wear.

The ruling affirmed a 2014 judgment by U.S. Magistrate Zack Hawthorn in Beaumont, who ordered prison officials to allow Ali, 33, to grow a longer beard and wear a kufi throughout the Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony. Ali, a trusty, lives in a dorm outside the prison’s fence line, court records showed.

“We are reviewing the opinion and have no further comment at this time,” Texas prisons spokesman Jason Clark said Tuesday.


8 thoughts on “Texas: Muslim convict demands sharia, court agrees

  1. Treason by the court, which must be removed immediately. Throw them off the bench and put them on trial. If the State legislators and governor do not do this, they too are guilty of treason.

  2. So he can engage in prison Dawah. Not good. They should separate all Muslims from others in prison. Most converts to Islam are made in prison.

  3. Sooo, he wants Sharia law to apply…. Well, well, WELL, well, well….. Isn’t he a convicted thief????? And an arsonist????? Serving two concurrent 20 year sentences???? Hey, let’s give’em exactly what he wants…. Call in the leader of the local mosque and have him administer the appropriate SHARIA punishment for STEALING…. Don’t they chop off one hand and one foot for that–w/o anesthesia????? YEAH, NO JOKE!!!!! Hell, these disgusting VERMIN don’t deserve to live anyhow–I say give’em exactly what they WANT!!!!!              

    • Yes… … But only if the victims were Muslim. Otherwise it is a good deed sanctioned by Koran and Muhammad life example.

  4. Don’t judges take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution? Doesn’t authorizing the use of Sharia law and giving it precedence over constitutional law violate that oath?

  5. –Sorry to shout, but: AT ONCE is needed major changes in ANY “religious” accommodations for Muslims, sounds etreme, but is simply because (1) their religion is Sharia which is not just private worship etc., but covers society A to Z, and anyhow (2) their demands are not for religion so much as for the Islam-mandated subversive incremental goal of imposing Sharia law and thus Islam upon the world, and on us
    –But alas, HOW to get the populace up to speed on this?

  6. Pingback: Texas: Muslim convict demands sharia, court agrees — Creeping Sharia | Clash of Cultures

If sharia law continues spreading, you'll have less and less freedom of speech - so speak while you can!

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