Last week American Islamic College hosted a delegation from the government of Singapore which included Members of Parliament, the Minister of Cultural Affairs and leadership within the Muslim Religious Council of Singapore, seeking to learn more about prison chaplaincy. Prof. Feryal Salem, director of the Muslim Chaplaincy Program, led a discussion regarding the role of prison chaplains in the US and the curriculum of study through which students train to become Muslim chaplains. She discussed the roles which various types of Muslim chaplains play in different institutions and the relationship they have within the context of the American Muslim community at large. AIC hosts were joined by DePaul University Chaplain, Abdul Malik Ryan, who presented on his own experience working as a university chaplain as well as his knowledge of the organized community efforts to reintegrate prisoners into society once they have completed their sentences.
Prof. Salem later traveled to New York where she made arrangements for the delegation from Singapore to visit two of the most well-known maximum-security prisons in the state. Dr. Salem and the Singapore delegation first visited Bedford Women’s Prison where they had the opportunity to speak with the different faith chaplains, inmates, and learn about the various programs offered in the facility. They later went to Sing Sing Maximum Security Male Prison where they joined the inmates for Friday prayer and were also given a tour of the facility.