In a case concerning prisoner’s religious rights, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decided to reverse a lower court’s ruling Sept. 14 in the case of Williams v. Wilkinson, suggesting that a Muslim inmate’s religious rights were violated when he was denied Kosher meals while in custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
Williams, who is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder, is a devout Muslim and believes the Quran commands him to eat only Kosher food.
After the ODOC denied Williams, he brought suit under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the First Amendment, alleging that the correctional facility infringed upon his constitutional right to free practice of religion.
“This is a religious question that presents issues that are directly implicated by the Constitution and the First Amendment,” said Andrew Lillie, a partner with Denver-based firm Hogan Lovells.
“And in this case, there is a question of what his sincere belief is in the way the Quran is interpreted,” Lillie said.
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, stating that such beliefs, as the opinion states, cannot be questioned.