An unlikely pair has forged a crime-fighting alliance, in one of the few big American cities where crime is up.
Chicago's first Jewish mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has formed a team (of sorts) with the help of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, a man many view as an aggressive anti-Semite, to help cut the 40 percent surge in homicides in the city's neighborhoods.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Farrakhan has deployed men in the streets of Chicago to stop the violence - a move welcomed by Emanuel.
Emanuel, a native Chicagoan, was a civilian volunteer in Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, providing help to the Israel Defense Forces. Farrakhan has been charged over the years for having used anti-Semitic, or anti-white, rhetoric. But Emanuel has chosen to ignore Farrakhan's past remarks in the face of rising crime numbers.
In just the first six months of the year, more than 250 homicides were recorded in Chicago. It is an astounding number for a city that is only a third as large as New York City, which reportedly recorded 193 murders in the same time frame.
"People of faith have a role to play and community leaders have a role to play in helping to protect our neighborhoods and our citizens," Emanuel told the paper. "You cannot get there on just one piece of an anti-crime strategy."
Men known as the Fruit of Islam, loyal to Farrkahan's organization, can be seen in neighborhoods forming a human wall of protection against sudden outbreak of gunfire, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
More than 40 people were shot -- 10 of whom reportedly died -- during the Memorial Day weekend in Chicago, whose growing crime crisis has garnered national attention. Victims of gun crimes in Chicago were as young as 7 years and as old as 75, according to the Daily Beast.
And according to that report, Chicago's murder rate hasn't looked like that since 2003, when there were 283 homicides by June's end.
"The police have a role to play. Tearing down abandoned buildings has a role to play. Shutting liquor stores that are a cancer in the community has a role to play," Emanuel told the Sun-Times. "Community leaders have a role to play. Pastors have a role to play. Principals have a role to play. And most importantly, parents have roles to play. They have decided, the Nation of Islam, to help protect the community. And that's an important ingredient, like all the other aspects of protecting a neighborhood."
Laura is a U.S. politics reporter for the International Business Times. She was always fascinated by the BBC World News each morning on the radio in Jamaica. That, and a love...