Toilets in one London prison are getting a face-lift — or rather, a change in direction — to accommodate Muslim inmates who can't use them while facing Mecca, a British newspaper reported.
Government officials ackowledged using tax dollars for the changes to the facilities, but maintained that moving the toilets was part of "on-going refurbishment," according to an article in The Sun.
Islamic code prohibits Muslims from facing or turning their backs on the direction of prayer when they use the bathroom. Muslim prisoners complained of having to sit sideways on toilets so as to not break code.
Faith leaders in the government pressured officials to approve turning the toilets 90 degrees at HMP Brixton in London.
A Muslim American rights worker commended the London prison system for their actions, but said the problem, so far, doesn't appear to be an issue in the U.S.
"There have been very significant and numerous complaints at U.S. prisons on issues of regulating hygiene and respect for dietary laws," said Ibrahim Ramey, director of human and civil rights work for Muslim America Society. However, Ramey said he was unaware of any specific complaints regarding the direction of toilets in U.S. prisons.