US Prison Top Chaplain: Clerics Advised Policy
“I believe it’s obligatory,” Lindh said of daily group prayer during his testimony Monday. “If you’re required to do it in congregation and you don’t, then that’s a sin.”
Michael R. Smith Sr., chief chaplain for the Bureau of Prisons, testified Monday in federal court in Indianapolis that the agency consults with leaders of various religions before setting policy. However, he said prison policy doesn’t recognize religious services if they aren’t led by chaplains. He said officials decided group religious services must be supervised following a 2004 report about efforts to radicalize Muslim inmates following 9/11.
The government claims in court documents that Lindh delivered a radical sermon to other Muslim prisoners in February. It also says he delivered the sermon entirely in Arabic, which is not allowed under Bureau of Prison regulations that require all speech but ritual prayers to be in English.