A Muslim woman is suing Cuyahoga County, Ohio, after she was allegedly forced to attend Christian church services while serving a 60-day jail sentence.
In the filed federal lawsuit, Sakeena Majeed said that a corrections officer made her and other Cuyahoga County jail inmates, of Christian or non-Christian faith, attend services led by a Baptist minister, reports Yahoo News.
The act is being viewed as a violation of her constitutional rights.
Majeed claims she was threatened with solitary confinement if she did not attend church services and that she was mocked by another correction officer for refusing to actively participate.
"That should be offensive to anybody, no matter what your religion is," said her attorney Matthew Besser, who filed the lawsuit. "The government can't tell you what god to pray to or to pray at all."
Majeed served a 60-day sentence on a misdemeanor assault conviction for assaulting two Cleveland police officers and a third man.
She was held in a trustee unit, where inmates are allowed in any part of the jail pod during the day except for Friday afternoons, when they are reportedly required to attend church services, according to Besser.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and claims Majeed suffered emotional distress and humiliation, reports Cleveland.com.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are corrections officer Regina Watts, who allegedly forced Majeed to attend church services, Sheriff Frank Bova, and Cuyahoga County as a whole.
Sheriff Bova said in a phone interview that the jail offers a Muslim service, as well as services for all other major faiths.
"We accommodate every faith up there, and no one is forced to go to any service," Bova said. "It's all voluntary."
The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants broke federal law that prohibits jails and prisons from “placing a burden on inmates’ ability to worship as they please.”
"She grew up in Kansas, and she's American as apple pie," Besser said of Majeed. "She just has a different religion than most people."