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ACLU adds prayer to New Mexico State investigation

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a law firm hired to look into allegations of religious
discrimination by the Aggie football program to also investigate an allegation that players were required to recite the Lord's Prayer at practice this week.

The ACLU New Mexico filed a grievance Oct. 25 against Aggie head football coach Hal Mumme, alleging he discriminated against a
released Muslim player by repeatedly questioning him about
al-Qaida. The grievance filed on behalf of former running back
Muammar Ali also alleges the football staff required the team to
recite the Lord's Prayer at the end of each practice.

The grievance seeks a public apology from Mumme and disciplinary
action against him. The ACLU also asked that NMSU provide diversity
training to all students and employees.

The university hired the Albuquerque law firm, Miller-Stratvert
to investigate the complaint.

On Wednesday, the ACLU asked that it also look into the latest
allegation.

Peter Simonson, executive director of the ACLU New Mexico, said
a current Aggie football player reported that the team was called
together at the end of Monday's practice to recite the Lord's
Prayer. The player was not identified.

"If that is really true, it shows such a flagrant disregard for
the seriousness of the allegations and an incredible disregard to
the university," Simonson said.

Witnesses deny the allegation, but the investigators will look into it, NMSU athletics director McKinley Boston said.

Boston said he expects the investigation to be finished in a
couple of weeks.

The Ali grievance noted the Aggies released two other Muslim
players, twins Anthony and Vincent Thompson, in August. Neither was
on scholarship nor included in the team's media guide or roster.
Ali was released in early October.