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ACLU calls on Sheriff John Scott to let Muslim inmates exercise their constitutional right to religious expression

April 3rd, 2014 by Temple City Tribune

Former Sheriff Baca ignored same request last year

Friday the ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) sent a letter to Sheriff John Scott requesting an end to the Los Angeles Sheriff Department’s current practice of denying Muslim inmates access to congregational prayer.

“Our right to religious expression is guaranteed in our Constitution,” said Jessica Price, staff attorney for the ACLU SoCal. “Other inmates are allowed to attend congregational prayer. Refusing to allow Muslims to pray in a group, while allowing other inmates to engage in group prayer, is offensive and discriminatory.”

Last year, the ACLU SoCal and more than 30 religious leaders from different faith communities, wrote former Sheriff Baca expressing the same concern. Sheriff Baca ignored the letter. Muslims continue to be denied access to Jumu’ah services, a weekly congregational prayer which takes place every Friday.

The letter states that if the Sheriff’s Department does not allow Muslims to gather for prayers on an equal basis with inmates of other religions, the ACLU SoCal will consider litigation.

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