American Taliban fighter fights prison prayer rule in Indiana


INDIANAPOLIS — American-born Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh says the government is forcing him to sin by denying him the right to pray with other Muslims in the highly restricted Indiana prison unit where he is held.

Lindh testified in federal court in Indianapolis Monday as a trial began in his religious-rights lawsuit against the government.

The 31-year-old Lindh says the school of Islam to which he adheres requires Muslims to pray together five times a day, if possible, and stipulates that not praying in a group is a sin.

Lindh says inmates are allowed to do other things in groups outside their cells, but not pray.

Lindh is serving a 20-year sentence at a federal prison in Terre Haute for aiding Afghanistan’s now-defunct Taliban government.

This Jan. 23, 2002 file photo provided by the Alexandria County Sheriff’s Department in Alexandria, Va., shows John Walker Lindh. Lindh is expected to testify Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, in Indianapolis during the first day of the trial over prayer policies in a tightly restricted prison unit where he and other high-risk inmates have severely limited contact with the outside world. (AP Photo/Alexandria County Sheriff’s Department, File)

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