I recently returned home from Iowa where I was visiting Elijah, a friend I acquired through correspondence while he was serving time in a federal prison camp in South Dakota. We initially were introduced to each other by a Christian prison chaplain looking for answers to religious questions. The chaplain happened to find my email through the website of a Muslim student organization I was a part of in college. I started writing directly to Elijah for the next year and a half until he was released in July of 2008. I finally got to meet Elijah last week in his home state of Iowa. He currently works bending steel in a factory in Ames and visits his 3 young children in Des Moines on the weekends. Elijah is the first subject of research for my new project about Muslims in the prison system.
Stay tuned for more on this project.