SAN FRANCISCO — John Walker Lindh, the Marin County man imprisoned for fighting with the Taliban, has won the right to have daily communal Muslim prayer in the U.S. prison unit where he is incarcerated.
An Indiana judge, ruling in a lawsuit brought by Lindh, ordered a Terre Haute prison warden to end a ban on daily group prayer for Lindh and more than 40 other Muslim inmates. The judge said the ban violated a federal law that protects the religious rights of prison inmates.
Lindh, who converted to Islam while living with his family in San Anselmo, is serving a 20-year prison sentence. He was captured in Afghanistan and later pleaded guilty to supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive.
Now housed in a prison unit for inmates whose communications are closely monitored, Lindh contended that the ban on daily group prayer violated his right to practice his religion. He said he adheres to the Hanbali school of Islam, which requires five communal prayers daily.