FAQ

FAQ

We are a resource for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Muslims, as well as the prison and mosque staff that need information on how to help them.
We have a tri-fold mission:

CONNECT
Through our Muslim Toy Chest program, we put a smile on the faces of the children of incarcerated Muslims by providing Eid gifts.

EMPOWER
We provide referrals to prison staff and incarcerated Muslims’ families who reach out to us for assistance. We also provide religious items where requested.

EDUCATE
We replace the worn-out, outdated donated books in prison libraries. We’ll send out high-quality literature for incarcerated Muslims; books that will transform their souls and their impression of the Muslim community outside.
We serve incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Muslims, whether Sunni or Shiite.

Currently there are two ways requests are made:

1) A family member who learns about us emails, writes, or messages us through social media and requests a gift because their spouse is in prison.

2) An inmate writes to us via postal mail. Because we are in the early stage logistically, we currently limit our active outreach to prisons in New York state, but we will fulfill inmate requests from other states if they hear about us and reach out.

We have an Eid Toy Chest brochure that we send into the prisons; view it here.

Our current board consists of a former prison chaplain who has an MA in Islamic chaplaincy through a credentialled seminary, an entrepreneur who runs his own Qur’anic recitation institute, and a lawyer who has worked on Islamic nonprofit boards. We have positive professional relationships with other nonprofits that serve Muslims, including Tayba Foundation and Muslim Advocates.
We do have a reentry chaplain who can help direct a parolee into possible resources in the community to which they are released. However at this time, we are not able to offer on-the-ground support.
We do not operate a halfway house or rehab program. At this time, Muslim Prisoner Project is focused on executing its three-fold mission with ihsan (spiritual excellence) and in a way that will make it a long-term sustainable service for years to come, insha Allah (God willing). By trying to do just a few things excellently, we wish to avoid being a “fly by night” operation, or one of the many nonprofits each year that discontinue operations. We ask for your prayers and your support!
While some of our staff and volunteers may visit prisons, we are a remote service functioning as a hub between prisoners, their families, and the Muslim community on the outside.

We are headquartered in western NY, however we receive inquiries from chaplains and inmates across the country and attempt to assist or make a referral in the best way for each inquiry. Because we are in the early stage logistically, we currently limit our active outreach of “Eid Toy Chest” to prisons in New York state, but we will fulfill inmate requests from other states if they or their families hear about us and reach out.
Muslim Prisoner Project is a registered 501c3 nonprofit that does not engage in political activity. An appropriate referral will be made if a prisoner writes to us with such an issue.
Most people who contact us are already affiliated with the faith, however they have at times had a tenuous relationship with their faith whether through poor lifestyle choices that result in their imprisonment, and/or “inner demons” and systemic injustices that also kept them out of healthier circles of practicing Muslims. While many have been “called,” not all remain in the faith. Not everyone who says their shahada engages in Islam in a deep manner beyond changing their names and perhaps their clothing. We are a “post-shahada” intervention: we want people to feel remembered and cared for after their shahada.
We do send Qur’ans however we are selective in the translations we make available as we have found that some are poorly translated or the commentary is incorrect or inappropriate for an American Muslim setting, let alone a prison setting.
We do not accept used donations, however if a bookstore or vendor would like to donate new books we will see if the items in question meet our standards and then we will welcome the donation. Our goal is to give inmates quality literature that we would want for ourselves. In addition, some facilities have restrictions such as no hardcover books, or dhikr beads must only be made from plastic and be black in color (New York state prisons). Some donors may be unfamiliar with these restrictions. Contact us if you have questions.
We do not assist in facilitating prison visits. We can direct you to the proper correctional institutions in your area.
Volunteer

-if you have skills in bookkeeping or fundraising
-if you have nonprofit legal skills
-if you have marketing/social media skills
-Gift facilitators for Eid Toy Chest program

How would you like to join our team as a volunteer Gift Facilitator?
When inmates write to us, they provide the name and phone numbers of the caretakers who have their children. As a Gift Facilitator, you will call, introduce yourself as a member of our team, and bring them the good news that Such-and-such requested we send a gift to their child for the Muslim holidays….would they accept the package? You document their answer (which is usually “yes”) in our handy-dandy spreadsheet, and if it’s a yes, you verify the accuracy of their address.

Message us or email us at ceo@muslimprisonerproject.org with your CV and brief paragraph on why you’re interested. You must be able to comfortably interact with inmate family members who may not be familiar with Islam or Muslim terminology, and (rarely) they may not welcome any contact from you or the inmate. In general, we have found most families to be pleasantly surprised.

Financial Contributions
Make a one-time contribution through Paypal here or become a recurring donor!

Donate items or give us a bulk discount on books or toys