MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Imam Yusef Maisonet, with Masjid As Salaam in Mobile, joins us this morning, here’s a look at our conversation:
Anchor: We wanted to talk about ministering to people behind bars. What role do you think clergy play in helping incarcerated people?
Guest: I think the role of Clergy is very much needed in rehabilitating prisoners or those that are seeking a change in their lives and for the betterment of society. To become better citizens and productive citizens.
Anchor: Early in 2019 you were the clergyman allowed to minister to a convicted death row inmate in Alabama before the execution Domineque Hakim Marcelle Ray. What can you talk about from that experience?
Guest: My experience with the execution of Domineque Hakeem Ray, was that I had to respect whatever verdict that was pronounced upon him, my duty as an Imam was to make his transition as a Muslim, what is required from the Muslim community to make sure he had presence of an Imam, I stand for equal rights as a Muslim, Christian, and Jew for all prisoners of different religions and faith.
Anchor: Why is it important to offer spiritual guidance to people who are incarcerated?
Guest: People repent like we all do about things that we did in our lives, and we want to give them the good news of Allah (God) and prisoners need spiritual guidance no matter what religion, God loves us all. No matter what religion.
Anchor: In what ways is spiritual advice for the incarcerated different from people on the outside or is it no different at all?
Guest: We all need spiritual awakening, but the incarcerated need it more due to their crimes against humanity and for those returning to society need to have something or someone to help them on their return to society and we need people that are concern with making this a better world for all concern. What we need is the love to help one another.
Anchor: How did you start this sort of outreach work?.
Guest: .I started when I was 18, I used to work for a drug rehab in Brooklyn, New York but did not get into prison rehab probably 15 years ago with my start in Puerto Rico, Mississippi and Alabama what we need in prisons is programs to make the inmates fit to make it back into society, they do not have any programs to give to the inmates to get back into society and become law-abiding citizens and its a shame that all that they have are to keep the prisoners returning to jail, America has the biggest population of prisoners in the world, we need to look at how other countries treat their prisoners in the world.
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