A federal court in Denver this week is hearing a civil suit brought by Ahmad Ajaj, one of the key figures in the the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.
Ajaj is suing the United States as well as the Federal Bureau of Prisons for allegedly violating his religious freedoms.
Ajaj, who is serving a 114-year sentence for his role in the bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000, filed his suit in 2015, according to The Denver Post.
The convicted terrorist cites grievances against three former wardens of the U.S. Penitentiary Maximum Security Prison in Florence, two chaplains and a number of health care workers for allegedly keeping Ajaj from complying with the demands of his faith.
The law being cited by Ajaj’s legal representation is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was enacted the same year Ajaj bombed the World Trade Center.
In a motion to dismiss the case, the prison claimed it has complied with federal law regarding Ajaj’s faith, including providing him with medications at 4 a.m. during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, so that he would be able to fast during the period.
“The Court should dismiss this case as moot, because plaintiff has already received the relief requested in his complaint,” the motion state, according to the Post. But Judge R. Brooke Jackson, who is hearing the case, declined to dismiss it.
The suit claims the prison did not provide Ajaj with his medications for back pain and depression early enough.
Ajaj, a Sunni Muslim, is also attempting to make up for being unable to observe Islam’s Haji, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca required at least once during the lifetime of any Muslim who is physically and financially able to do so.
Ajaj’s lawsuit, according to the Post, argues that because Ajaj is unable to make the trip to the holy site in Saudi Arabia, he believes that he should substitute other forms of worship, including additional fasting. He also complained about being put in administrative segregation on Sept. 11, 2001, the second time the World Trade Center was attacked.
Ajaj is represented in court by the student law office of the University of Denver, according to The Associated Press. However, Ajaj himself was forced to watch the trial by video because of security concerns, the AP reported.
“Throughout his incarceration, Mr. Ajaj has been subject to relentless discriminatory practices by Bureau of Prison staff because of his race and religion,” the lawsuit states, according to the Post.
The newspaper reported that Ajaj also accused prison staff of intentionally offending his religious sensibilities by showing cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammed, and said that staff tossed the Quran in the trash.
“Mr. Ajaj must choose between obtaining his prescribed medications and observing religious fasts; he must choose between eating and consuming a religiously forbidden diet; and he must choose between receiving a disciplinary action and participating in group prayer,” the lawsuit states, according to the Post.
“Finally, defendants’ refusal to provide regular access to an Imam in violation of their own policy gives Mr. Ajaj no choice but to forego religious guidance.”
It has not been determined what Ajaj is seeking as restitution for the outlined grievances. However One America News reported that he previously asked to be awarded $130,000 in a 2014 lawsuit over dietary issues related to Ramadan.
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