US Taliban member seeks group prayer in US prison
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A US-born Taliban fighter testified Monday that the US government is forcing him to sin by denying him the right to pray daily with other Muslims in the highly restricted federal prison unit where he is detained.
John Walker Lindh, being held at the Indiana prison, was charged with supporting terrorists after he was captured by US troops in Afghanistan and later pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
Lindh, 31, is serving a 20-year sentence at a federal facility. The Muslim convert claims his religious rights are being violated because the prison deprives him of daily group prayer. Muslims are required to pray five times a day, and the Hanbali school to which Lindh belongs requires group prayer if it is possible. But inmates in the Communications Management Unit are allowed to pray together only once a week except during Ramzan.
Lindh said Monday that doesn't meet the Quran's requirements and is inappropriate because he is forced to kneel in close to his toilet. The government says in court documents that Lindh gave a "radical, all-Arabic sermon" to Muslim prisoners in February that was in keeping with al-Qaeda techniques for imprisoned members.
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