Judge: Virginia Prisons Must Treat 5 Percenters as Religion - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Judge: Virginia Prisons Must Treat 5 Percenters as Religion

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(AP)- A federal judge says Virginia prisons must recognize the Nation of Gods and Earths as a religion and allow its followers to congregate and possess their central texts.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema sided Monday with an inmate who challenged the Virginia Department of Corrections' labeling of the Nation of Gods and Earths, also known as the Five Percenters, as a security threat group.

The Nation of Gods and Earth is an offshoot of the Nation of Islam that the department has long considered a black supremacist gang. They're currently barred from having gatherings or access to their texts in prison.

Michael Williams, an attorney for the inmate who brought the case, said he's pleased the judge has ordered Virginia to end its "unlawful and discriminatory policies."

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