Judge rules in religious issues case brought by two Fort Madison inmates

Associated Press

DES MOINES, (AP) — A federal judge says two Iowa prison inmates must be provided nightly meals and chapel time during Ramadan and allowed the same religious accommodations as other Muslims.

The inmates, Michael Williams-El and James Blair-Bey, sued prison officials in 2012 when they were at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison.

Magistrate Judge Thomas Shields says in a Tuesday ruling federal law requires the men to be able to participate in their religion. He says prison officials may prevent them from taking scented oil into cells for security reasons and are not required to replace beans with soy or other meat substitutes.

The men identify themselves Moorish Islam. In 2012 they were denied participation in Ramadan activities by the prison Imam who says their beliefs are contrary to traditional Islam.

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