Jail bosses are rebuilding toilets so Muslim inmates don't have to use them while facing Mecca. Thousands of pounds of taxpayers money are being spent to ensure lags are not offended. The Islamic religion prohibits Muslims from facing or turning their backs on the Kiblah - the direction of prayer - when they visit the lav. Muslim lags claimed they have had to sit sideways on prison WCs. But after pressure from faith leaders the Home Office has agreed to turn the existing toilets 90 degrees at HMP Brixton in London. The Home Office refused to reveal the cost of the new facilities - part of an "on-going refurbishment".
One Muslim former inmate said: "The least the Prison Service can do is make sure people can practise their religion correctly in prison." But a Brixton jail officer said: "If they didn't get locked up for committing crime they would not have this problem. Yet we have to sort out their loos. If we weren't paying for it as taxpayers I'd laugh my socks off." Around a quarter of prisoners at the Category B jail are Muslims.
Labour MP Khalid Mahmood said: "As far as I understand this rule only applies in a place of worship." Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: "Some common sense needs to be applied."
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