'American Taliban' wins right to group prayer in prison
January 12th, 2013
03:21 PM ET

'American Taliban' wins right to group prayer in prison

By Mariano Castillo

The man known as the "American Taliban" won a legal fight that will allow him and fellow Muslim inmates to gather for daily prayers.

A federal judge ruled Friday that the warden at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, was violating John Walker Lindh's rights by not allowing the religious activities.

Lindh argued that before 2007 Muslim prisoners were allowed to pray together for at least three of Islam's five daily prayers. Since then, with the exception of the holy month of Ramadan, the Muslim prisoners are allowed to gather only once a week.

The unit Lindh is housed in has 55 cells, and the majority of the prisoners are Muslim, according to court documents.

By not allowing group prayer, while at the same time allowing other group activities such as board games, the warden was violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson found.

The law was designed to protect freedom of religion in prison, where policies can place burdens on such rights.

The judge ordered an injunction "prohibiting the warden from enforcing the policy against daily congregate prayer for Muslims, including Mr. Lindh, for whom daily congregate prayer is a sincerely held religious belief," the court order states.

Already, prisoners are allowed to gather in the unit's multi-purpose room to listen or watch recording of Quran verses. Allowing them to pray is not significantly different from this and should be allowed, the judge ruled.

Lindh, who was born in California, converted to Islam as a teenager.

He traveled to Afghanistan in 2001 and attended a terror training camp where he was introduced to Osama bin Laden.

Lindh was captured by the Afghan Northern Alliance on November 25, 2001, and imprisoned in a compound in Mazar-e-Sharif, where he was questioned by CIA agent Johnny Michael Spann, who was killed in an uprising at the compound a short time later.

As part of a deal, Lindh pleaded guilty to supplying services to the Taliban and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. His family filed a petition for clemency to commute the 20-year sentence, a request that was denied by President George W. Bush in one of his final acts in office.

CNN's Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.

soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Non Judging Person

    Although I definitely do not agree with their religion. I am happy to see that they obtained their right to pray and worship their god.

    January 20, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
  2. Hahahahahahahaha

    What? The KKK not good enough for you boy? Hahahahahahahaha

    January 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  3. SPA Knight

    Is a right to practice your religion a human right or civil right? I thought criminals forfeited their rights when they got locked up?

    January 15, 2013 at 11:33 am | Reply
  4. ex muslim

    Fcuk islam fcuk allah and fcuk muhemmed and spit and pee on kuran. ISlam must be defeated at all costs f world wants to life in freedom.

    January 15, 2013 at 2:59 am | Reply
    • Ammar Habib

      Are you 5? Learn to spell than comment you filthy animal

      November 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  5. ex muslim

    SHoot them at once, no problem of allowing gatherings and all and further risking security of non muslims. Everey muslim criminal must be shot dead

    January 15, 2013 at 2:58 am | Reply
    • Ammar Habib

      Lol typical brainwashed American

      November 8, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  6. dgt2

    "pray"... to what for what ?
    the want to form a group and fight back ......

    January 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm | Reply
    • smaneck

      The daily prayers which Muslims are required to say are pretty standardized and innocuous. While being a prisoner may loose some of their rights as a result of a crime, the Supreme Court says their First Amendment rights cannot be abridged. Whether the person in question believes in those rights is irrelevant.

      January 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  7. pnm9pnm

    well jail is not the usa thay only have jail rights thay need to be working on what did at 9/11 to we the people,.pnm,.

    January 14, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  8. Colin

    A bullet through his head when they captured him would have saved a lot of taxpayer dollars. I have zero sympathy for a Muslim jihadist who would fight against the USA. I wish they had killed the mentally fvcked up little loser when they had the chance.

    January 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  9. Ben

    Do you all remember what happened to those traitors in Palestine, this son of a B#$%@ is lucky that he is white and born in the USA otherwise he would ended up like those who betrayed their own in Palestine.

    January 14, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Reply
    • Ashraf

      This is your real face. U fascists of Europe and America.

      January 14, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Reply
  10. FreddyFedora

    Oh...sure...now he wants the rights that he would deny others.

    January 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  11. rongoodman

    When I saw the headline on the article, I assumed it was about right wing Christians.

    January 14, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Looper

      So did I.

      January 14, 2013 at 8:46 pm | Reply
      • Johnny

        Headline should have been: American Muslim wins right to group prayer in prison. The story doesn't detail any terrorism, other than attending a camp, providing 'dervices' and carrying an explosive during the commission of a felony. There are worse criminals in American jails.

        January 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
  12. johnnydoughboy

    Probably this so called 'American Taliban' will receive clemency/probation by executive order before too long prior to 2016 election.

    January 14, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • BigShiz

      Yea,by the same guy that killed bin Ladin. You right wingers are crazy as heck.

      January 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  13. Denverboy

    Hey Man we have The Right to practice our religion...of choice...No Warden can takr that away... Just like no lawman can take yur gun away.... or your right to free speech...

    January 14, 2013 at 10:36 am | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      He gave up all of his rights when he picked up arms against his own country. The only right he has now is to die like the piece of trash he is.

      January 14, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Reply
      • Canada

        Kill em all, let God sort em out.

        January 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
      • George Patton

        The problem with you right-wing fanatics is your love for killing people. No wonder the Tea Party Movement is flourishing with all this hatred running rampant across the country. Yours is the kind of ignorance that will eventually bring this country to it's very knees!!!

        January 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
      • Bibi Your Master

        U.S.M.C you are so neat.

        wow. . . . endless intellect you have. Great perspective. wow . . . .I'm so glad you're on our side.


        January 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  14. Luke Weyland

    Sometimes i get a little confused. a terrorist group of Saudis kill 2900 in New York – As a result the United States Miltiary kill millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Yemen,
    Who are the Real Terrorists?

    January 14, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
    • Your Psychiatrist

      Millions, really ?

      January 14, 2013 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • BigShiz

      It's hundreds of thousands,still I get your point.

      January 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      Your right if we would have done it rig the lose of life in the middle east would have been a lot higher. We should have never put a boot on the ground we should have carpet bombed them till they gave us everyone we wanted.

      January 14, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • james

      youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu who betray his own country to destroy democratic country . have u not forgot the 2900 innocents lives . US would not have engaged in war abroad if it was not to witnessed

      January 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  15. Roelof

    Sects are forbidden. But the judge decided their interpretation is called the real Islam. Terrorism and hate. I totally agree. That's why Muslims shouldn't be allowed to cross any Western border or allowed live in a Western country. Those judges agree. Safety comes first.

    January 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
    • Bibi's The Man

      Way to go Roelof . . . I sure love your comment. Spread our hate of the towel heads everywhere. Make sure we confuse these stu-pud Americans. Keep up the good work. The more we brain wash these dumb dopey Americans, the easier it is to have them send us their money.


      January 14, 2013 at 4:15 am | Reply
  16. U.S.M.C. 1371

    Why is this piece of trash still alive

    January 13, 2013 at 7:00 pm | Reply
    • Bibi's The Man

      Yeah . . . .U.S.M.C 1371 is our boy . . . working to spread our hate. But slow down a bit U.S.M.C 1371, some of these stu-pud Americans are still giving us trouble . . . .we have to allow for a little bit of law. Maybe next year we can have obama declare martial law and then we can take out and summarily do away with any freedom lovers who may still cling to the delusional belief Americans have rights.

      What a joke . . . . stu-pud Americans have NO RIGHTS because we have taken their rights away.

      Yeah, keep up the good work!

      israel forever and forever. . . .we are the masters of the world.

      January 14, 2013 at 4:19 am | Reply
      • dean

        Don't even pretend you are Jewish, MOHAMMED

        January 14, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • Ammar Habib

        Jews are the most hated religious group in HISTORY

        November 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
  17. David

    Sure,why not,let him pray to his imaginary god.Unfortunately what he and all people of faith don't realize is nothing,absolutely nothing fails like prayer.

    January 13, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Reply
    • Arber

      It's not a "prayer" as in "please God help me and give me health" and what not. Islamic Salah is a ritual of worshipping God as in praising him by reciting verses of the Qur'an. Thus, your argument fails.

      January 14, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  18. drones luv pakis

    they can pray before they are killed....

    January 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Reply
  19. Aaron Chany

    The Armed Forces Confront Terrorists, Target Their Gatherings in Several Areas

    Units of the Armed Forces repelled early Friday armed terrorist groups that attempted to attack Ksheish in Aleppo countryside, a military source said.

    The source told SANA reporter that the army units inflicted heavy losses upon the terrorist groups' members, killing and injuring all of them.

    The source added that the Armed Forces destroyed a 23 mm caliber anti-aircraft cannon which the terrorists used in targeting the citizens and the army and law enforcement forces in the countryside of Aleppo.

    In the meantime, an army unit carried out a qualitative operation which resulted in destroying an ammunition and weapon warehouse used by the terrorists of the so-called 'al-Tawhid Brigade' near al-Karama School in Manbij in the countryside.

    An official source told SANA reporter that the warehouse was completely destroyed in the operation, will all terrorists inside it killed.

    In al-Duwayrini area, an Armed Forces unit cleared Ibn Khaldoun Psychiatric Hospital from terrorists, injuring a number of the terrorists and killing others including Mahmoud Wahid and a terrorist nicknamed Abi al-Khattab who is a member of the "Shura council" of the terrorist group known as "Liwa'a al-Fateh."

    Armed Forces units carried out operations in the villages of al-Tawwama, Andan, Tal-Shgheib, Mayer, and on the road to Aleppo, resulting in the elimination of many terrorists and the destruction of their vehicles.

    Security Restored to Areas of Umayyad Mosque, Aleppo Citadel and Justice Palace

    In another context, units of the Armed Forces and the security forces eliminated all members of the armed terrorist groups to the north of the Umayyad Mosque and Khan al-Wazir and the areas surrounding Aleppo Citadel and the Justice Palace in the city of Allepo.

    An official source told SANA reporter that security and stability were restored to these areas after the army units confronted the terrorists in cooperation with the locals.

    Armed Forces units carried out several operations near al-Muwasalat, al-Bab al-Qadim road, the Islamic cemetery, near al-Mikdad Mosque in al-Salhin , near the impound lot in Bustan al-Qasr, al-Hal Marketplace, near the cemetery in al-Layramoun, and al-Na'na'a Mosque, in addition to an operation in Bani Zeid area which resulted in the killing of a number of terrorists and the injuring of others.

    Another unit confiscated 30 tons of flour in Sheikh Saeed area which terrorists were trying to smuggle out of Aleppo city, then the units delivered the flour to al-Hamidiye bakeries.

    January 13, 2013 at 9:19 am | Reply
  20. Bangash

    In begining when Taliban tookover in 1995, Osama was the first to reach Kabul, followed by UNOCOL American corporation and then two prong attacks started on central Asian states and Chinese border province. With Taliban they negotiated gas and oil pipelines from central Asian states to Pakistan's coasts and were succesful in getting a military base probably in Kazakistan beside high rise in insugent attacks in China and Chechnia. This was a period when Taliban, Osama- USA were one and Americans like John Walker Linds were free to roam in Afghanistan and do whatever they could. Within three years of friendship under the policy of carrot and stick situation changed in central Asian states when they refused to strike a deal on oil and gas and military base. John Walker being American was part of all this process therefore he had to do what UNOCOL wished the to do. Denial of access to central Asian states oil and gas resources had to change the game and thus stick based policies continue to this day. US used Islam and Muslims in their global strategic designs, specially in Afghanistan which has resulted in in what media painted Islam as the fast growing religion in USA. So for permission for joint prayers in jail, that judge has decided and now America will have to reap what they have sown in Afghanistan.

    January 13, 2013 at 2:45 am | Reply
  21. Kerry

    This man has a right to practice religion the way he pleases and none of these right-wing thugs have any right to deny him of that. Kudos to the judge!

    January 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Reply
    • Bibi Owns You

      Hey, this man has no rights! When will you stu-pud Americans learn we have taken over your country. You have no rights anymore. Your job is to do what we say. Soon we're going to take all your guns away.

      We own Obama, Congress, we are the authorities. And you Americans love to suck authority. You are dumber than dumb. You're so dumb we use you stu-pud dopes to fight our wars and to kill our enemies.

      When will you learn we have taken over your stup-pud country. We're doing to you what we did to Germany and Russia. Now it is your turn you stu=pud Americans.

      We are the Isra-Lies and we own you like we own cattle.


      January 12, 2013 at 7:46 pm | Reply
      • stan

        only a truly stupid muslim would believe that anyone sane would believe this was an israeli posting this crap. your missing half wit must have fallen out of your turban.

        January 13, 2013 at 8:28 am |
      • American

        youre completely nut Wrath will be upon you if you keep up the bizarre conversation We will find you if youre threating usa again

        January 15, 2013 at 12:08 am |
      • Johnny

        LOL. Someone is coming to find you and another one thinks you have a turban. They can't even find Canada on a map.

        January 15, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Andy


        Just because half (his wit) lies silent does not mean it lies un-recorded 🙂

        January 15, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
  22. Tembisa

    Reblogged this on World Chaos.

    January 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Reply

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