Islam is spreading through the American prison system at a rapid pace. In today's political climate, some have warned that this could lead to increased radicalism. But in these three stories, former offenders describe how Islam led them to a righteous life, allowing them to start anew.
Kurt Cargle, 42, was released from prison two years ago and has since made a good living working numerous jobs. His Muslim community is small, but he holds on to his faith as an anchor of morality, stability, and strength.
Leon Dread, 63, has spent the last two decades since he left prison reaching out to inmates, children, and anyone who will listen, warning them of the dangers of violence, drugs, and AIDS. He is also working to improve himself, and recently earned a master's degree in political science. He says Allah meant for him to effect positive change in the world.
Hassan Wasi, 48, spent more than half of his life in prison. Now, he is one of the first inhabitants at a new transitional housing program on Chicago's South Side. He is using his faith to rebuild his career and his social network.