Najmu Mohseen

  • Hosted by Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
  • Service location Richardson, Texas
  • Law school Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Issue area Free Speech/Freedom of Expression/First Amendment
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Ms. Mohseen focused on advocating for Muslim inmates and detainees denied access to religious accommodations as guaranteed by the law.

Through her Fellowship project, Ms. Mohseen sought to address the issue of unmet religious accommodation needs of Muslim inmates and detainees. Despite laws which protect the right of institutionalized people to practice their chosen religion with limits only where the limit is in furtherance of a compelling government interest that cannot be accomplished in a less restrictive way, the lived reality is that many Muslim inmates and detainees are denied accommodations and therefore must violate their religious beliefs. With a large percentage of the U.S. prison population self-identifying as Muslim, and with this number presumably increasing or staying constant due to conversion while in prison, this is an issue which will continue to arise.

Fellowship Highlights

Ms. Mohseen developed and published a comprehensive model handbook that outlines various beliefs of different sects of Islam generally as it pertains to prisons and prisoners and also addresses the law and provides examples of best practices, particularly as have been implemented in some facilities. Ms. Mohseen also directly represented inmates and supported other organizations’ efforts in expanding religious accommodations. Through direct representation, Ms. Mohseen was able to secure changes to policies regarding religious headwear for the entire Virginia Department of Corrections and was able to expand the availability of religious texts in a Florida civil commitment center.

Next Steps

Ms. Mohseen will remain at CLCMA as a civil staff attorney where she will continue her work on religious accommodations in prison while expanding her practice area to all civil litigation matters within the organization’s scope. She hopes to maximize the impact of strategic litigation in the prison rights space by partnering with sister organizations.

Media

Standing Up for Human Rights

Equal Justice Works Fellow: Najmu Mohseen

TAMU Law Alumna Receives A Prestigious Fellowship

Belief Behind Bars: Religious Freedom and Institutionalized Persons

Opinion: Muslim Inmates Deserve the Same Legal Rights as the Jan. 6th Insurrectionists

My purpose as a lawyer is to better the lives of the underserved and I believe that Muslims are currently one of the most underserved groups.

Najmu Mohseen /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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