Judicial Watch • Muslim rights

Muslim rights Archives | Judicial Watch

Here is one of those shameful only in America stories: A convicted terrorist serving 20 years in a high-security Indiana facility is suing the Federal Bureau of Prisons because the mandatory jail uniform violates Muslim wardrobe rules.

Can anyone imagine this occurring in any other country? The unbelievable story comes out of the Terre Haute Federal Penitentiary in western Indiana. The facility houses 1,514 male offenders, including a convict dubbed the American Taliban. His name is John Walker Lindh and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks he was captured in Afghanistan for aiding the Taliban against United States troops.

Lindh subsequently pleaded guilty to helping the Taliban and carrying explosives. His trial was held in Virginia, a stone’s throw from the Pentagon, and he was slapped with a 20-year sentence. The story made international headlines because Lindh was born in the U.S. and he spent his formative years in an upscale Northern California community. No one could fathom how he ended up in al Qaeda training camps in the Middle East. Here’s how his defense attorney explains it to the mainstream media: “He was a soldier in the Taliban. He did it for religious reasons. He did it as a Muslim, and history overcame him.”

A few years ago Lindh sued the Federal Bureau of Prisons for the right to pray five times a day with fellow Muslim inmates. The facility allowed prisoners to pray alone in their cell, but banned group prayers for security reasons. The Koran says that prayers must be conducted in a group, Lindh said, and a federal judge agreed, ruling that barring Muslims from engaging in the daily group ritual violates a 1990s law that forbids the government from curtailing religious speech. “The denial of daily group prayer opportunities substantially burdens Mr. Lindh’s religious beliefs,” the judge wrote.

Now the convicted terrorist, who is going by the name Yahya (the prophet of Islam in Arabic) instead of John, is again invoking religious rights to change his prison uniform. In a lawsuit filed against the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Lindh claims that Islam prohibits Muslim men from wearing pants below their ankles. Federal jail attire includes pants and forbids hemming those pants above the ankles. That’s why it’s called a uniform, because all the convicts must be dressed exactly the same.

Here’s a snippet from the complaint filed by Lindh’s attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): “Yahya Lindh is Muslim and it is a clear tenet of Islam that Muslim men are prohibited from wearing pants below their ankles. Despite this, it is a formal policy of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons that ‘Islamic inmates may not hem or wear their pants above the ankle.’ This policy imposes a substantial, and unjustified, burden on the religious exercise of Mr. Lindh and all Muslim prisoners with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

The actual tenet of Islam involves the length of a robe, but is also applied to pants. Mohammed claimed that having a long robe was arrogant and those who wore them would go to hell. That means if your pants are too long, you go to hell as well. The prophet Allah said that “the dress that is under the ankle is in the Hellfire.” That means convicted terrorists, who tried to murder Americans, can sue to wear the shorter pants, so as to avoid Islamic hell.

This brings to mind a separate case demanding “Islamically permissible” food for all prison inmates in the U.S. The federal government already provides Muslim prison inmates with special meals prepared according to Islamic law, but only a few states do it and a U.S.-based terrorist front group demanded a change earlier this year. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which pretends to be a Muslim civil rights group, actually ordered Florida prison officials to offer Muslim inmates halal meals, which would cost taxpayers in the Sunshine State a lot more than the regular jailhouse cuisine. It would fall under religious accommodation.  It’s fair to say that this one will also end up in court.














In a painful defeat for the Obama administration, a federal appellate court has overturned a judge’s ruling that a clothing retailer discriminated against a Muslim woman for denying her a job because she wore a religious headscarf known as a hijab.

The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws. Under Obama the agency has brought a number of similar lawsuits on behalf of Muslims around the country alleging violations of religious and civil rights. In this case the agency accuses a retail giant, Abercrombie & Fitch, of illegally discriminating against a Muslim woman by ruling her out for employment over her religious headscarf.

The woman, Samantha Elauf, applied for a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch store in a Tulsa, Oklahoma mall in 2008. The company, which focuses on hip casual wear for consumers aged 18 to 22, has a policy against head covers of any kind for its employees. According to the EEOC it amounts to discrimination based on religion and that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers are required to accommodate the sincere religious beliefs or practices of employees, the agency says, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on business.

A federal judge in Oklahoma agreed, ruling in 2011 that the law imposes an obligation on the employer to accommodate the religious practices of an employee or prospective employee unless it would result in undue hardship on the conduct of its business. In his order the U.S. Chief District judge, Gregory Frizzell, said the store violated Elauf’s civil rights when it didn’t hire her. Elauf was awarded $20,000 in damages and the EEOC bragged that the court sent a clear message to employers.

But the retailer appealed and this week the Denver-based Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling in favor of the EEOC, saying the store’s policy is not discriminatory, but rather intended to promote and showcase its brand, which “exemplifies a classic East Coast collegiate style of clothing.” Abercrombie & Fitch contends that prohibiting head covers is critical to the health and vitality of its “preppy” and “casual” brand, according to the ruling. 

Additionally, the federal appellate court found that Elauf’s religious headscarf only became an issue after she was ruled out as a candidate. “Ms. Elauf never informed Abercrombie prior to its hiring decision that she wore her headscarf or `hijab’ for religious reasons and that she needed an accommodation for that practice, due to a conflict between the practice and Abercrombie’s clothing policy,” the decision states.

The Obama administration has for years targeted this particular retailer over the hijab issue, filing lawsuits in different parts of the country. In fact, last month an Obama-appointed federal judge ruled that one of Abercrombie’s northern California stores violated a Muslim woman’s (Umme-Hani Khan) civil rights when it enforced the company’s not head cover policy. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California ruled that the retailer is liable for failing to accommodate the Muslim woman’s religious beliefs and may owe punitive damages.  

“Reasonable jurors could determine that by offering Khan one option—to remove her hijab despite her religious beliefs—Abercrombie acted with malice, reckless indifference or in the face of a perceived risk that its actions violated federal law,” the judge writes in her 27-page opinion. Khan was represented by a renowned Islamic terrorist front group, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), that’s tight with the Obama administration.



In yet another case of political correctness run amok, a federal appellate court hasruled that a Muslim woman convicted of welfare fraud can sue a U.S. county for making her remove her religious headscarf in a holding cell.The case had previously been dismissed by two separate federal courts in California, but the woman’s legal team at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) kept appealing. This week the notoriously liberal and often reversed Ninth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 11-0 that the woman (Souhair Khatib) can sue southernCalifornia’s Orange County because her religious rights were violated when she was forced to take off her hijab.A three-judge panel from the same court had previously agreed with a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit, but the ACLU asked the full court to rehear the case. In its new ruling the full Ninth Circuit says that a federal law guaranteeing religious freedom to prisoners applies to a courthouse holding cell where Khatib was ordered by deputies to remove her headscarf for security reasons.On a perpetual mission to appease Muslims, the Obama Administration joined Khatib in arguing that the law, enacted 2000, applies to pretrial cells like the one at the Orange County courthouse. County officials counter that it covers only prisons that hold inmates for substantial periods and not transitional cells where criminal suspects are kept for only a few hours.But the Ninth Circuit says “congress intended to safeguard the permissible religious observance of powerless persons incarcerated by the state” so the law should be interpreted broadly. It further points out in its ruling that “a Muslim woman who must appear before strange men she doesn’t know, with her hair and neck uncovered in a violation of her religious beliefs, may feel shame and distress.” This is precisely the sort of “mischief” the federal law intended to remedy, the court said.Khatib and her husband pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in 2006 and the couple was twice detained for probation violations. On both occasions the Khatibs were ordered into a holding cell for several hours while they awaited a court hearing. In her lawsuit against the county Khatib claims that she suffered a “deeply humiliating and defiling experience” when she was forced to remove her headscarf for security reasons at the Orange County Superior Courthouse.

An Oklahoma police captain with an impeccable service record has been disciplined for refusing to order officers under his command to attend an Islamic event at aTulsa mosque.The unbelievable story was first reported by an Oklahoma news station that obtained internal memos detailing how the Tulsa Police Department punished one of its top brass for dodging a rather bizarre assignment; to attend the Islamic Society’s law enforcement appreciation day and command his officers to do the same.The veteran cop, Captain Paul Fields, said the order conflicted with his personal religious convictions and violated his civil rights. He added that attending prayer service at a mosque, meeting Muslim leadership and sitting through a presentation of Islamic beliefs was not related to his work as a police officer. Fields, a 16-year veteran who has earned many commendations, assured that he would respond diligently to a call for police service.Fields was promptly investigated by Tulsa Police internal affairs for violating the department’s obedience policy and he subsequently got “reassigned.” The department memos linked in the story indicate that the Muslim event, scheduled for next month, was originally voluntary to attend but few officers signed up and it became mandatory.A deputy chief distributed a follow up memo ordering each patrol division to send six officers and three supervisors to the event, which is described as a “community outreach operation” that’s as much a part of police work as responding to calls. The department has participated in similar outreach events at a Jewish center and various churches that cater to African Americans and Hispanics, the assistant chief said.Captain Fields remains adamant that he should not be forced to attend the Islamic gathering and has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that his First Amendment rights were violated by the department and the deputy chief who ordered him to. He is asking for $1 in damages.A separate case involving Muslim rights put Oklahoma in the headlines just a few months ago. The state actually got sued over a voter-approved measure prohibiting courts from considering Sharia law—the authoritarian doctrine that inspires Islamists and their jihadism—when ruling on cases. The suit claims the law is “anti-Islam” and unconstitutional because it forbids judges from contemplating Islamic principles.

Sign Up for Updates!