Muslim inmate can sue Virginia prisons over grooming policy, court rules

25th Dec 2020

Elham Asaad Buaras

A US federal court ruled that a Muslim inmate at Nottoway Correctional Centre in Burkeville, Virginia, can continue his lawsuit challenging the state’s prisons’ grooming policy that stipulating that he must shave his beard that violates his right to practise his religion.

The Virginia Department of Corrections maintained a policy that segregates prisoners with a beard into a restricted unit and refused to permit Devion Gentry to rejoin the prison’s general population until he shaved.

Further, prison officials forcibly shaved the beards of new prisoners who maintained beards for religious reasons but did not forcibly shave the beards of prisoners who maintain beards for non-religious reasons.

The district court dismissed the case for failing to state claims under the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Gentry won a reversal of that ruling on December 7. His case may now proceed in the trial court. “Prisons are required to respect the religious rights of all people they house,” said Muslim Advocates Senior Staff Attorney, Matt Callahan.

“We are glad the Fourth Circuit took this step to protect the rights of Muslims and other religious practitioners. Mr Gentry will now have his day in court to fight these discriminatory policies.”

Leave a Comment

What is 13 + 14 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets