- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees have filed motions asking U.S. courts to stop officials from barring the inmates from participating in communal prayers during Ramadan, claiming their rights are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and citing the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby ruling in their defense, reports Al Jazeera America.

U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve filed the motions on behalf of Emad Hassan of Yemen and Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan, whom the group says requested the intervention after Guantanamo Bay military officials, “prevented them from praying communally during Ramadan,” the news agency reported.

Prior to the Hobby Lobby ruling, lawyers say that courts determined those detained in Guantanamo do not have freedom of religion because they were not covered under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Hobby lobby ruling held that under RFRA, closely held corporations are permitted a religious exemption from providing birth control as stipulated in the Affordable Care Act.


“Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons – human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien – enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the RFRA,” the lawyers argued in court papers, reported Al Jazeera.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide by fasting from dawn until sunset. In 2014 Ramadan began on June 28 and will end on July 28. The detainees are seeking the freedom to perform tarawhi, or extra prayers “in which [Muslims] recite one-thirtieth of the Quran in consecutive segments throughout the month,” according to Al Jazeera.

“Defense Department is aware of the filing,” Army Lt. Col. Myles B. Caggins III, Department of Defense spokesman, told Al Jazeera, adding that the “government will respond through the legal system.”