It’s finally happening. We may finally see if the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision was really about “religious freedom” or just promoting Christian bigotry. Two Muslim men have filed a lawsuit claiming it is their right, under the SCOTUS ruling, to be able to celebrate the Islamic holiday of Ramadan…while being detained at Guantanamo Bay.
You heard that right. Two Gitmo detainees, Emad Hassan and Ahmed Rabbani, are suing for their religious freedom to celebrate Ramadan. During the holiday, Muslims are not allowed to eat while the sun is up and must perform extra prayers known as tarawih. Lawyers for the detainees contend that if corporations can be considered people with religious rights, so should prisoners:
“Why are the authorities at Guantanamo Bay seeking to punish detainees for hunger striking by curtailing their right to pray? If, under our law, Hobby Lobby is a ‘person’ with a right to religious freedom, surely Gitmo detainees are people too.”
The Supreme Court ruled last week that Hobby Lobby, a corporation, had the right to impose its religious views on its employees because of the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act and Citizens United, claiming corporations are people with religious rights. While the prisoners had previously been told by courts they were not considered persons under the RFRA, their lawyers insist the recent ruling changes that.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III said that detainees religious rights are being upheld: “We are committed to religious freedoms and practices for the detainees, keeping in mind the overall goal of security and safety for detainees and staff” but that the “government will respond through the legal system.”
It will be interesting to see how the five Catholic justices, the majority that condemned Hobby Lobby’s employees, will respond. Whether or not you agree the prisoners should have their religious rights upheld, regardless of their religion, if the Court can claim corporations are people while simultaneously saying actual incarcerated men are not, we’re in more trouble than we realized.
h/t: Al Jazeera America