Washington, D.C. — Late Thursday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to allow the execution of a Muslim inmate in Alabama to take place even though state officials refused to let an imam be present in the death chamber. The inmate argued that Alabama’s policy unconstitutionally favors Christian inmates because it allows a Christian chaplain employed by the prison to remain in the execution chamber during lethal injections, but not an imam. In response, Maggie Siddiqi, director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
The Supreme Court just allowed blatant discrimination against Muslims. No matter the circumstances of his death, this Muslim inmate was entitled to die with dignity, accompanied by the spiritual adviser of his choosing. There is no valid reason why the state of Alabama could not try to accommodate his request for an imam to be present, just as it allows a chaplain for Christian inmates.
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