August 28, 2012

Imam: Lindh can pray alone under religious rules

Charles Wilson Associated Press
 
Alexandria County Sheriffs Department photo

FILE - This Jan. 23, 2002 file photo provided by the Alexandria County Sheriff’s Department in Alexandria, Va., shows John Walker Lindh. Lindh is expected to testify Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, in Indianapolis during the first day of the trial over prayer policies in a tightly restricted prison unit where he and other high-risk inmates have severely limited contact with the outside world.
(Full-size photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An imam disputes 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 says it can’t allow daily group prayer because of security concerns and because it doesn’t employ enough Muslim chaplains.

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