This and next Sunday morning, July 7 and 14, Imam Rahim Sharif and his wife, Esther, will share life stories and their Muslim faith at St. Francis in the Foothills United Methodist Church.

The focus of their discussion will be on Islam as a practical and inclusive way of life for all humanity, not as a "religion" as the term is commonly understood in the Western world.

According to the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, the Spirit of Allah commands all peoples of the world to rise above the level of simple life in order to achieve their full humanity. The way to accomplish such fulfillment is outlined in the Quran according to the teachings of Muhammad, Allah's last messenger.

The Sharifs lived most of their lives in Chicago, where Esther worked as a community organizer and Rahim served on the police force for 28 years. He "reverted" to Islam in 1969 and was the first Chicago police officer to do so.

After working for the city of Chicago in a variety of capacities connected to prison reform, he and Esther founded the South Shore Islamic Community Center in 1995

In 1999 the couple moved to Tucson where they have continued their community and prison work. Esther has twice run for political office and Rahim regularly visits Muslim prisoners in the federal prison here.

Rahim's book, "Inmates' Survival Handbook: An Islamic Perspective," is available through

The presentation, free and open to the public, will be in the St. Francis Church Center at 11 a.m.

St. Francis in the Foothills is at 4625 E. River Road, at North Swan Road. For more information call the church office at 299-9063.

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