The Plaintiff, Marcus Leeotis Watts, sued the Respondents, various prison officials at the Perry Correctional Institution in South Carolina, for allegedly violating his rights under RLUIPA and the First Amendment when the prison failed to provide Muslim prisoners with ḥalāl meat. The Respondents contended that the vegetarian meal option that complied with Islamic law was adequate, and sought summary judgment. The District Court granted summary judgment for the Respondents, citing earlier case law providing that the failure to provide a ḥalāl diet containing meat did not substantially burden prisoners' exercise of religion because a Muslim prisoner is not religiously-obligated to eat meat.
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Contributed by SHARIAsource Staff
Intisar Rabb, Contributed by Intisar Rabb, Senior ScholarMore Commentary
In a 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court of India declared triple ṭalāq unconstitutional and gave India’s parliament six months “to consider legislation” for handling triple ṭalāq. In its opinion, the Court cited global advances in Islamic family law (in India, called Muslim personal law) in “even theocratic Islamic states” as evidence of the need for reform. The Court also noted that the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937, which protects the religious freedom of Muslims in India, does not constitutionally protect practices deemed “anti-Qur’anic.” Asserting that triple ṭalāq is such a practice, the Court held that it could not be protected under the Indian Constitution.
Akhila Kolisetty, Contributed by SHARIAsource Staff
Noor Zafar, Contributed by Noor Zafar
This brief, submitted by fifteen religious and civil rights organizations, addresses the notion that numerous conflicts often arise between job duties and religious convictions in areas of ritual law, including Sabbaths and other holy days, dietary restrictions, and dress for many Jews, Muslims, Christians and members of other faiths. These organizations point out that the headscarf (ḥijāb) is a particularly visible manifestation of a religious practice (more so than taking off holy days), and under the laws of the United States, it is entitled to no less a standard of reasonable accommodations, particularly in an era where online applications set the qualifications and in-person interviews may offer cause for discrimination if not for application of Title VII broadly. They further argue that “the Tenth Circuit’s reasoning gives the employer a perverse incentive to deny to religiously observant applicants any opportunity to discuss religion-based limitations on their appearance or scheduling. Under that reasoning, the employer’s ignorance automatically defeats a prima facie case, and thus effectively eliminates Title VII’s accommodation protections for those applicants. Under the Tenth Circuit’s position, then, observers of Sabbaths and other holy days will find themselves effectively excluded from a large and growing sector of the workforce that is hired through online applications (p. 10).” For reviews and commentary on the U.S. law implications of this case, see the SCOTUSblog Case Page.