Have you ever wondered what goes on in prisons? Have you wondered who are the men and women that are incarcerated? Who are chaplains and volunteers who spend endless hours helping those who have lost their voices?
These questions were addressed at a chaplaincy awareness forum and dinner held on Saturday evening at the Islamic Institute of Toronto in Scarborough.
A chaplain provides religious and spiritual care to inmates in federal and provincial prisons and they play a key role in the rehabilitation of offenders.
“The challenge of all faith communities is to run chaplaincy services given the cuts in government funding,” said Imam Abdul Hai Patel, President of the Ontario Multifaith Council and the Canadian Council of Imam’s Interfaith Relations Director, in his welcoming remarks.
The evening’s program was held to offer support for the growing number of chaplaincy services such as those offered by the Ottawa-based Islam Care Centre which has been at the forefront of supporting chaplains in Ontario prisons.
The Centre provides two permanent Muslim Chaplains to all the federal penitentiaries in Ontario.
Working in partnership with Correctional Service Canada and the Ontario Multifaith Council, the Centre has fostered an environment that allows for prisoners to develop themselves while serving their sentences and then to reintegrate back into their community.Most commendable. But there's another reason why the Centre is so keen to get to prisoners. It's explained on its site:
ICC has regular volunteers who take their time to visit Inmates in Ottawa and provide spiritual and emotional assistance. By the grace of Allah many inmates have become Muslims, spending their time in prison in a productive peaceful manner.So nice of Correctional Service Canada and the Ontario Multifaith Council to help foster and further prison da'wa, no?