Outreach Coordinator attends Jewish-Muslim Discussion over Criminal Justice

CAIR-Chicago’s Outreach Coordinator, Gerald Hankerson, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative, co-organized a discussion event on criminal justice for Muslim and Jewish attendants at Noble Tree Coffee & Tea in Lincoln Park on May 11th.

The discussion, which was led by Imam Frederick Thaufeer al-Deen and Rabbi Larry Edwards, shared scripture and specific religious guidelines for criminal justice and civil conduct. Approximately 40 people participated in small group discussion in which they shared what their faith professed in relation to the topic using religious texts.

Two attorneys shared statistics on social factors correlated with the rate of crime, for example, the rate of fatherless children who become future criminals and how the death penalty is not an affective deterrent to the problem.

Al-Deen is a chaplain who has worked with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and is the author of the book, A Question of Faith for Muslim Inmates. Edwards is the current rabbi at the Congregation Or Chadash Chicago and is also the Book Review Editor for the Newsletter of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

The Jewish-Muslim Discussion groups meet consistently throughout the year to learn about Muslim and Jewish perspectives on social issues. Each event is free where participants can share their ideas, thoughts, and personal stories of their own religious backgrounds with help from a leading figure of each faith community. Some of the topics from past discussions include: Food and Ethics, Sufism and Kabbalah, and Healthcare in Jewish and Muslim traditions.

“It was a successful event all around”, said Hankerson about the discussion, “…particularly because we had lively and engaged participants and informative speakers who are community leaders and advocates for social change and equality.”