On 7 February, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to acknowledge that basic principle in a case from Alabama concerning a Muslim inmate on death row. Domineque Ray requested to have an imam with him at the time of his execution. It was in no way an unusual request. Death-row inmates are routinely given access to members of the clergy or spiritual counselors. Holeman Correctional Facility, the Alabama prison where Ray was incarcerated, allows its own Christian chaplain to accompany inmates facing execution into the room where the procedure takes place, but correctional officials denied that same access to Ray’s imam, arguing that would somehow present a security risk. In effect, the prison’s policy is that a Christian inmate has the right to receive spiritual solace from a member of his faith – but members of other faith traditions or those who seek secular counselors can be denied that same right.
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