Hello to all!
Last week I went to Indonesia!
I went there for the first International Conference Disability and Diversity in Muslim Societies: Experiences from Asia!
The conference was held at the beautiful Hotel Grandhika in Jakarta, organised and hosted by the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN, Jarkata) along with the Australian Catholic University (ACU- Institute for Religion, Politics and Society) and University of Western Sydney (UWS- Institute for Culture and Society).
The conference was a first of it’s kind, with the aim to promote disability and diversity inclusion in Islamic educational institutions and Muslim communities around the world (at least in Indonesia and Australia).
The ‘Australian & Indonesian Disability Research Network’ was launched at the conference, attended by the Australian Embassy and other key members such as Dr. Azyumardi Azra (UIN Jakarta), Associate Professor Megan Watkins (UWS), Dr. Karen Soldatic (UWS) and Dr. Dina Afrianty (ACU).
At the conference, I presented my research about the experiences of Muslim Women in Australia with Hearing Impairment.
It was the first time I presented my research at a conference and it went really well!
I met so many amazing people such as other researchers and organisations that have a disability and Islamic focus.
For me personally, it was a surreal and amazing experience, to see the two topics presented together- Islam and Disability.
While Indonesia has started to create and promote disability inclusion and awareness, it has a strong Islamic focus and as a Muslim, it was heartwarming and inspiring for me to see the incorporation of my religion in higher education.
In Australia, we have more established disability inclusion and research, but a weak focus in religious (and cultural) perspectives.
When I was doing my research and looking for literature about Islamic perspective on disability, I could not find many!
Now I have been exposed to many different researchers, organisations, networks and literature which I can use in the future, for my research or personal interests.
In return, I can share my Australian knowledge and research about disability and my personal experiences of being a Muslim with hearing loss, as well as my experiences in trying to create awareness and projects for Deaf Muslims in Sydney.
I met other Deaf and hard of hearing people in Indonesia, including wonderful interpreters who are also Muslim! We only have 2 Muslim sign language interpreters in Sydney and I met about 6 Muslim Indonesian interpreters at the 2- day conference and it was wonderful to see.
Check out a video showing ABC in Indonesian and Australian Sign Language here! (Come on Australia, we need more sign language interpreters and learners from different religious backgrounds!)
I also met a wonderful lady who is part of a non-government funded organisation called the Little Hijabi Homeschooling in Indonesia were they teach Deaf and hard of hearing Muslims about their religion such as Quran and Arabic. I hope one day to visit come back and visit that school and meet other deaf Muslims and share experiences, since I am trying to establish a Muslim Deaf Group in Sydney and would love to help deaf Muslims learn more about their religion.
This whole experience and knowledge exchange has been amazing and I have so much I want to say but I am grateful for all the networks, friendships and connections I’ve made in these 2 days at the conference.
I did stay a few extra days and went to the beautiful Island of Lombok for a break and I had an amazing time learning about their culture and relaxing by the beach and pool.
Thank you Dina and Karen and other organisers for giving me this opportunity and to my friend Zahra for coming along with me.
Much love and hope to see all my Indonesian friends again!
Alhumdilulah, All praise belong to God.