Imam: Lindh Can Pray Alone Under Religious Rules

Rules Excuse Followers From Group Prayer

An imam disputed American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh's claim that Islam requires him to do his ritual daily prayers as part of a group, even though he's in prison.

Ammar Amonette testified Tuesday in federal court in Indianapolis that he and Lindh adhere to the same Hanbali school of Islam and that it excuses followers from praying in groups if it isn't possible. Amonette leads a mosque in Richmond, Va.

Amonette's testimony comes on the second day of trial in Lindh's lawsuit challenging a rule allowing only supervised group prayer at the tightly controlled federal prison unit in Terre Haute, Ind., where he's serving a 20-year sentence.

The government said it can't allow daily group prayer because of security concerns and because it doesn't employ enough Muslim chaplains.

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