Submitted, November 26, 201
Publication Ordered March 12, 2015.
Court of ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.
Kevin Mobley, Pro se.
Raymond W. Dorian, Assistant Counsel, Mechanicsburg, for respondents.
BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge, HONORABLE ANNE E. COVEY, Judge. OPINION BY PRESIDENT JUDGE PELLEGRINI.
PELLEGRINI, PRESIDENT JUDGE
Kevin Mobley (Mobley), an inmate at the State Correctional Institution-Forest (SCI-Forest), filed an action pro se while he was housed at SCI-Fayette on his behalf and other inmates who are members of the Nation of Islam (NOI) against a number of officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (collectively,
the Department) alleging violations of the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Equal Protection Clause of Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The complaint alleges that NOI members have been unconstitutionally and illegally denied separate worship services and the Department " compel[s] [them] to 'support and attend'" contradictive, Sunni Muslim services at the prison when Sunni Muslims consider " NOI beliefs, teachings, and practices to be blasphemy, sacrilegious [sic] and contradictive" to their beliefs and do not consider NOI adherents to be true Muslims. (Complaint at ¶ ¶ 38, 39, 43, 44). Mobley alleges that the Department knows and understands these principles yet " ha[s] forced hostile religious enemies of the NOI and Sunni Islam groups to combine their religions and commanded religious practices into one broad Islamic group." ( Id. at ¶ 52). On the basis of these facts, the complaint alleges that the Department violated the rights of Mobley and other NOI adherents under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000cc, and the Pennsylvania Religious Freedom Protection Act (Act), Act of December 9, 2002, P.L. 1701, as amended 71 P.S. § § 2401-2407 and under the federal and Pennsylvania Constitutions. As relief, the complaint seeks, among other things, an injunction ordering the Department to " end the [Department's] special religious practices against the [Petitioner] ... [d]enying the NOI prisoners from observing their commanded religious practices," ( id. at p. 12), injunctive relief allowing certain NOI services and materials at SCI-Forest, and monetary damages.
The Department filed preliminary objections stating that Mobley had failed to make out a cognizable claim that his religious rights had been unlawfully or ...