Officer: Lindh, other inmates defy prison staff

A prison officer says American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and other Muslim inmates at the Indiana prison unit where he's held have a history of citing religion in order to defy corrections authorities.

Tim Coleman testified Wednesday in Indianapolis during the federal trial over Lindh's lawsuit challenging a prison policy that bans Muslim inmates in his Terre Haute unit from engaging in five daily prayers as a group.

Lindh says his faith makes group prayer mandatory. An imam disputed that claim in testimony Tuesday.

Coleman says Lindh has a personal history of defiant behavior that includes an incendiary sermon delivered in Arabic despite regulations requiring inmates to speak English except for ritual prayers. Coleman also says Muslim inmates have at times grouped together to intimidate other inmates and staff.