Jihad v. Fabian (D. Minn. 2010): Religious Accommodations for Prisoners

Plaintiff, a Muslim prisoner, challenged prison policies that (1) failed to provide a Muslim chaplain and an adequate number of Islamic services; (2) prohibited religious meetings without a volunteer present; (3) failed to provide ḥalāl meals and a location where he may perform five daily ṣalāt (prayers); and (4) prohibited him from wearing a kufi (prayer cap) or an Islamic medallion outside of his clothing. The Court found that plaintiff had not demonstrated that the prison's policies substantially burdened his ability to practice his religion, as required for a finding of a violation of the First Amendment or the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and that where plaintiff had demonstrated a substantial burden, the prison had demonstrated that its policies were the least restrictive means of achieving the compelling government interest in safety and security.

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