Muslim prisoner can grow his beard: US Supreme CourtWashington: The US Supreme Court today unanimously agreed that prisons cannot stop Muslim inmates from wearing beard according to their religious belief. The issue was brought to the apex court's notice by an inmate in
Washington: The US Supreme Court today unanimously agreed that prisons cannot stop Muslim inmates from wearing beard according to their religious belief. The issue was brought to the apex court's notice by an inmate in Arkansas prison, who is serving a life sentence following a domestic violence case conviction.
According to the Court's ruling Muslim prisoners can now wear a half-inch long beard.
Gregory Holt, also known as Abdul Maalik Muhammad wanted to grow a 0.5 inch beard and under prison's rules criminals are permitted to keep only 0.25 inch long beard.
In an appeal to the court Alito wrote that prison officials had given him the option of either "engaging in conduct that seriously violates his religious belief, or contravening the grooming policy and risking disciplinary action."
Justice Samuel Alito of the US High Court wrote in his decision that such restrictions violate his constitutional rights to freedom of religion.
Forty of the 50 US states allow prisoners to wear a trim beard. Arkansas is among the 10 remaining states restricting that right, for security reasons.
Although many justices agreed with police officials that inmates could hide weapons or other contraband inside their whiskers, they also noted that this wouldn't be possible in Holt's case considering the length wasn't sufficient for such tactics.