Friday, November 9, 2007

Muslim rivalry hits New York prisons

by Joseph Goldstein from The New York Sun (US)

Shiite inmates have long demanded their own chaplains and a separate place to pray on Fridays, apart from other Muslim inmates. A little-noticed federal court ruling improves the prospects that Shiite inmates will see their demands met ... Imam Sabree, who is a Muslim chaplain in Georgia's state prisons, questioned why a prison system should distinguish between the two Muslim denominations when inmates from a variety of Protestant groups routinely pray together. "That would be similar to Baptists saying they didn't want to worship with United Methodists," he said ... The plaintiffs say the more than 40 Muslim chaplains employed by the state are predominately Sunni and influenced by the Saudi Arabian movement of Wahhabism. "In the places where it's been most tense, a lot of times the chaplains have been at fault," a Muslim chaplain who retired in 2006 from the prison system after 18 years, Dawoud Adeyola, said. He is not connected to the lawsuit. The Muslim prison chaplaincy has been under scrutiny since a 2003 Wall Street Journal article disclosed that after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, two New York chaplains spoke in support of the attacks.

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