Muslim “underwear bomber” sues over restrictions “suffered” in prison


Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, better known as the “underwear bomber” who was convicted of attempting to blow up an airplane headed for Detroit in December 2009, has filed a federal lawsuit, claiming his religious rights are being violated in prison.

Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man, was 23 years old when he tried to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear while on board a Northwest Airlines flight enroute from Amsterdam to Detroit, on Christmas Day, 2009.

In 2012, a judge gave Abdulmutallab the maximum sentence allowed, sending him to prison for life, with no possibility of release ever, as she said there was absolutely no potential for rehabilitation. He was sentenced to 4 life terms, plus 50 years without parole, and is being held at a federal prison in Colorado.

But Abdulmutallab is not happy in prison, and has gone on a hunger strike to protest the harsh treatment he is receiving. He filed a federal lawsuit last week, complaining about his solitary confinement and says restrictions placed upon him are preventing him from practicing his Muslim religion, the Detroit Times reported Monday.

He is demanding to be removed from solitary confinement, and says his dietary needs are not been met, as he needs a halal-certified diet and regular access to an imam. He is also not being allowed to participate in group prayer with other Muslims, and complains that he is being denied his Muslim prayer rug and Qu’ran.

To add insult to injury, Abdulmutallab’s complaint states that “white supremacist inmates … often curse, yell, scream and say things that are religiously insulting and offensive to Muslims …” and said some corrections officers in the prison have offended him by displaying pornographic magazines at prayer times.

“This harassment has rendered it extremely difficult for Mr. Abdulmutallab to manage the difficulties of the harsh conditions of solitary confinement by taking solace in his religion and religious practices,” the lawsuit states.

He is asking for acknowledgment that his First Amendment rights have been violated as well as his rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He also is seeking removal from solitary confinement and a permanent injunction ordering Sessions remove the Special Administrative Measures and prohibit future attorneys general from re-imposing the measures.

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