Jail chaplain wants more Quran copies for inmates

2013-03-17T23:12:00Z 2013-12-24T11:04:12Z Jail chaplain wants more Quran copies for inmatesKRISTEN ZAMBO kristen.zambo@journaltimes.com Journal Times

RACINE COUNTY — If Racine County Jail inmates need a Bible, they aren’t likely to face the prospect of not having enough to go around.

But if you are a Muslim inmate, you’re kind of out of luck when it comes to obtaining a Quran.

“I can’t give what I don’t have,” jail Chaplain Merritt Adams Jr. said. “It would appear to my Muslim inmates that Christians get everything and Muslims get nothing. And that’s not the case.”

Adams said he isn’t even operating on a shoestring budget when it comes to materials.

“Everything I have to give is donated,” said Adams, himself a Christian. “I can’t meet the need without the community’s support. I’m a nonprofit. ... No other faith that I address do I have to ask for materials. I don’t know what else to do to meet the needs.”

He said if more Qurans were available, more inmates may ask for copies.

“I think (now) they just don’t ask,” he said.

At any time, there may be 10 to 15 Muslim inmates in the Racine County Jail, Adams estimated. Of those, five or six might be classified as devout Muslims.

“I’ve asked everybody I know in the community at least once (each),” he said, and then he went online to request free Qurans from four or five organizations.

He obtained two Qurans, donated by the Racine Islamic Center, Adams said. “So now we’ve got two,” he said.

But Adams just might have the answer to his prayers this week.

Stephen Suleyman Schwartz, executive director of the Center for Islamic Pluralism, said the organization can arrange a donation to the Racine County Jail.

“We have a prison outreach program. We’ve donated Qurans to prisons before, in other states,” he said Sunday when reached by The Journal Times for comment on the situation. “We’ll start, I guess, probably with five and we’ll see how many he wants after that.”

The tax-exempt charity is based in Washington, D.C.

Schwartz said they can donate a paperback edition.

Adams said paperback editions are used in jails and prisons because hardbound religious books from various faiths cannot be used because they can become weapons.

Adams said he also would like to host Friday prayer groups for Muslim inmates, which existed when he began serving as chaplain in September 2000. But because service leaders must go pod to pod, Adams said, instead of gathering all Muslim inmates in one central location, that has dissuaded some from coming to the jail to provide prayer services.

“I need people of faith to come forward and go through the (background check) process and get approved, then minister their religion,” he said, adding he can’t because he’s not Muslim. “I’m looking for the whole community to get involved because this is the community’s jail.”

Copyright 2015 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. mt_pleasantly
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    mt_pleasantly - March 19, 2013 7:09 pm
    To those who find god in prison I say "god, you need to find a better hiding place".
    A follow up article/study should be conducted regarding how many inmates register as Muslim during Ramadan (to take advantage of the revised meal times) and violate their own fast. It's greater than 50%.
    More manipulative opportunists hustling the system.
  2. Kay Nine
    Report Abuse
    Kay Nine - March 18, 2013 11:41 am
    The Gideons supply a great deal of the free bibles to jails and prisons all over the country. They frequently give bibles out at our locals facilities. I think the purpose of the article is to solicit the same services from a different group that gives out Qurans.
  3. Kay Nine
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    Kay Nine - March 18, 2013 11:37 am
    Your ignorance just oozes through....

    Oh yeah.... lol
  4. ggodmuls
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    ggodmuls - March 18, 2013 9:49 am
    Has Schwartz prayed to god and asked him for supplies?

    Didn't get them? Well that's god's will. Maybe god doesn't like him, or he's praying wrong. Why doesn't Schwartz like the answer god gave him? Maybe you're not praying right.

    Americans send their dollars to Muslim ruled lands, like Saudi Arabia, for oil. Why doesn't he ask the Saudi's to supply him with the books he wants?

    How did the Muslims end up in jail? Aren't there rules? Were they violating those rules? You shall know them by their works.

    I can Judge - because I am not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew. Make-believe friends in the "heavens" is for children.

    Sing it my friend! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tGuJ34062s

    Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
    So oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz

    Oh lord won't you buy me a color TV.
    Dialing for dollars is trying to find me.
    I wait for delivery each day until 3.
    So oh lord won't you buy me a color TV.

    Oh lord won't you buy me a night on the town.
    I'm counting on you lord, please don't let me down.
    Prove that you love me and buy the next round.
    Oh lord won't you buy me a night on the town.
    Everybody....
    Oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz
    My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.
    Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
    So oh lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz.

  5. ordmm
    Report Abuse
    ordmm - March 18, 2013 8:38 am
    $2.99 to $11.99 a copy on Ebay. Seems like someone is trying to make a big deal out of nothing.
  6. Death by commute
    Report Abuse
    Death by commute - March 18, 2013 7:50 am
    Sounds like its time for the muslim community to step up. The Christian community did just that.
  7. Kay Nine
    Report Abuse
    Kay Nine - March 18, 2013 2:39 am
    Well, that's a completely ignorant statement. Like saying all Catholics bomb abortion clinics. Or all Mormons have numerous teenage wives.

    Maybe you should leave the house more often... try educating yourself.
  8. youknowme
    Report Abuse
    youknowme - March 18, 2013 12:44 am
    Muslims = terrorists
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