2 Muslims settle lawsuits over church services in Ohio jail

CLEVELAND (AP) — A county in Ohio has settled federal lawsuits with two Muslim women who say they were forced to attend Christian church services while serving sentences in the county jail in Cleveland.

Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County released settlement agreements Wednesday that show it paid $48,500 to Shakeena (shuh-KEE’-nuh) Majeed (muh-JEED’) and $32,500 to Sonya Abderrazzaq (AB’-durh-uh-zokz).

Both women served sentences for misdemeanor convictions. They alleged in separate lawsuits that they were required to attend religious services led by a Baptist minister while they were housed in a trustee pod at the jail. They also said they were harangued for not actively participating.

Attorneys for the two women say the practice has been stopped.

A Cuyahoga County spokeswoman says the settlements aren’t an admission of liability but are an exercise in risk management.