Referring to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favour of Hobby Lobby, attorneys for two detainees at Guantanamo Bay have submitted motions seeking religious freedom for their respective clients, both of whom are Muslims. Reportedly, the two lawyers have requested a United States district court in Washington DC to permit their clients Ahmed Rabbani from Pakistan and Emad Hassan from Yemen to take part in group prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.
The two attorneys said that the detainees’ religious liberties are protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a law that was cited by the Supreme Court while ruling in favour of Hobby Lobby. In that particular ruling, five of nine justices said Obamacare’s requirement for employers to provide female employees with free contraception is an unconstitutional violation of RFRA.
According to the lawyers, their clients are prevented by prison officials from praying communally, even during Ramadan, which is considered a holy month for Muslims, and that too is an unconstitutional violation of RFRA.
“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 motion states.
Lieutenant Colonel Myles B Caggins III, spokesperson for Pentagon, said that the authorities are aware of the detainees’ motion and the government will respond in due time.
“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,” he said.