Muslim Prisoner Sues Springfield Jail for Denying Him Access to Quran


  • Cezary Piwowarski/Wikimedia

A Muslim prisoner is suing the jail he's locked up in because he claims it won't give him access to a Quran and a prayer rug.

Richard Ray McLendon Jr., who is locked up in the Greene County jail awaiting transfer to a federal prison in Illinois to serve a two-year stint for violating supervised release on a sex offender charge, filed a lawsuit against alleging he is not permitted to bring a Quran into the jail.

"I was told to get someone from the outside to send it from the publisher," McLendon wrote in the lawsuit, according to the Springfield News-Leader. "So I did, and I'm still being denied. There are Bibles everywhere."

Jim Arnott, the Greene County sheriff, tells the News-Leader that the jail does have Qurans available, and meal accommodations are made for Ramadan.

  • Richard Ray McClendon, Jr.

See also: Taxi Commission Suspends License of Muslim Driver Raja Naeem: Religious Discrimination?

The sheriff also says that the Islamic Center of Springfield provides religious services to Muslim prisoners. According to the Prison Activist Resource Center, the Islamic Center of Springfield sends Qurans to prisoners free of charge.

This is the second time in just over a year that the Greene County jail has been sued for allegedly denying Muslims the right to freely practice their religion. Back in August 2013, a group of six Muslim prisoners filed a lawsuit against the jail for denying them access to religious materials -- including Qurans -- as well as other congregational prayer on Fridays and food that abides by their religious laws.

See also: Gateway Metro Credit Union Rejects Muslim Woman Adiaratou Sall Due To Her Headscarf

The suit asked for $20 million in damages. It's still a pending case, and all but one of the plaintiffs have dropped out of the lawsuit.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.