World Bulletin / News Desk
A new initiative for Muslims with hearing difficulties has been launched in the US, helping to raise awareness of the issue within the Muslim community and allowing deaf Muslims to gain more access to religious learning.
Global Deaf Muslims (GDM) was set up by Nashiru Abdulai, a 38-year old Muslim from Ghana now living in the state of Virginia, to help around 55 million deaf Muslims around the world.
Saying that he set up the organization after promising to do so when he left Ghana for the US at the age of 19, Abdulai, who lost his hearing 28 years ago after contracting meningitis, told Desert News, “Every time I’d go to a mosque, I’d sit there and I’d just watch the speaker and I couldn’t understand a word that person was saying.”
Abdulai said he was disheartened when he found no interpretation services at the mosque, so he set up the organization to recognize the rights of deaf Muslims and actively strive to ensure that the Muslim community is “accessible and inclusive of all Muslims.”
The organization also aims to “advocate for the advancement and inclusion of deaf Muslims” in the community and to “raise awareness of deaf Muslims issues within the broader Muslim community.”
Now with branches in California, Virginia, Minnesota, Illinois and Texas in addition to branches in Canada and Ghana, OnIslam reported that GDM is also raising $480,000 to fund the project of translating the Qur’an to American Sign Language.
Daoud Nassimi, a professor of Islam at Shenandoah University and Nova College who is helping GDM to translate the Qur'an into American Sign Language, said “the first thing that they need is interpreters” for Friday sermons, talks, classes and other occasions.
Muslim community leaders “need to be convinced that many deaf members exist in their communities, and those members cannot come and benefit from the mosque and programs unless there are interpreters available,” Nassimi said.
“They should be convinced that the money that they would spend on hiring the interpreters is really worthy of this important cause,” he added.
The Qatari Social and Cultural Center for the Deaf recently presented a 376-page dictionary of Islamic sign language for Arabiic sign language interpreters to learn, OnIslam reported.
However, any dictionary of Islamic terms must be universally accepted by deaf Muslims everywhere, Abdulai says, as signs can vary from in Arabic and American English.Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2014, 16:02