ADRIAN — A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of former Muslim inmate Derrick Maye, giving him the ability to sue two Michigan prison chaplains for not allowing him to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr.
Maye, who was housed in prisons in Adrian and Jackson, said that he was not allowed to celebrate the Muslim holiday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
The court affirmed a lower court ruling that said Maye’s constitutional rights were violated in 2013 and 2014. The appeal was filed on Thursday, and stated that officials told a chaplain in 2013 that he could only attend Eid ceremonies if he changed his religion from Nation of Islam to Al-Islam.
Another chaplain allegedly denied Maye’s request to participate in Eid in 2014 “without offering any justification for doing so,” the appeal said.
Eid al-Fitr was added to the Michigan Department of Corrections’ policy in July 2013, recognizing the holiday as a protected religious holy day and allowing inmates to fast or feast, a report from the Detroit News said. Maye was released from prison in November 2016, the department said to the News.
He reportedly attended religious services twice per week while incarcerated at the Gus Harrison Correctional Facility in 2013, and only missed two weekly services over the course of two years, the appeal said.
Maye was considered a leader and spokesman for the Nation of Islam and became a member in 1992.