British Government’s disregard of Muslim rights in detention centre criticised by High Court
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Thursday February 08 2018
A recent ruling by the High Court condemned the UK Government’s failure to consider the rights of Muslim detainees in immigration detention centres.
The case was brought forward by two former Muslim detainees of the Brook House immigration detention centre who were detained at the facility for several months before being released.
The pair said that they were forced to offer dawn (fajr) and after sunset (maghrib) prayers in their cells next to unscreened toilets, which they claimed to be “deeply embarrassing and humiliating” and contravened their right to religious observance.
Mr Justice Holman, the High Court judge, said: “I accept that having to pray within three metres of an exposed and open lavatory pan, with no seats or lids, especially one which other people have recently used, could feel degrading”.
Mr Holman concluded that the conditions contravened the men’s right to worship granted under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and that the conditions were discriminatory in nature due to them affecting Muslims more than people of other religions.
He concluded that the UK Government had “indirectly discriminated” against Muslim detainees stating that the “Secretary of State for the Home Department has never previously thought about differential or discriminatory effect on practicing Muslims”.
A spokeswoman from the Home Office said that the: “Immigration Removal Centres are equipped with mosques and multi faith rooms for detainees to use for prayer, study and reflection” and that the department respected all faiths.
However, she also said that “we will consider today’s judgement carefully”.
Brook House has been previously embroiled in controversy when a BBC Panorama undercover investigation found that detainees were “mocked and abused”.
Aside from Brook House, there are 10 other detention centres in England, which took in more than 28,000 people last year.