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Muslim inmate denied imam at execution

In February, a Muslim inmate in Alabama on death row requested an imam be in the execution chamber with him; however, the state denied his request, and his religious rights were violated upon when he was executed without the imam he asked for. Now, the Supreme Court justices are arguing over the case.

Domineque Ray, a prisoner in Selma, Alabama, has been a devout Muslim since around 2006, according to CNN.com. Alabama’s policy states that a Christian chaplain is allowed in the execution chamber to kneel and pray by the side of the convicted. However, Ray was not Christian, so does that make his request for a religious adversary by his side insignificant?

The answer is no, as the state’s failure to adhere by his request does violate his right to freedom of religion. If a Christian chaplain is allowed in the execution chamber, then any other religious adversary should be granted in the room with the convicted, regardless of the convicted’s religious views.

A similar case to Ray’s is that of Patrick Henry Murphy’s in Texas, who requested a Buddhist spiritual adviser in his chamber but was also denied his wishes due to the state’s policy. No matter what religion these prisoners are, they are about to be executed, and they should be granted whatever religious guide matches their religious beliefs.

by Jordan Butler

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