As you have probably seen, this year has been amazing for the Deaf Muslim Community in Sydney. So much more access and awareness had happened, especially in Mosques and community and religious events.
With so much happening, it’s hard to document everything.
But I want to share what has been happening with Lebanese Muslim Association (LMA) and Lakemba Mosque who have been working hard and ensuring the Deaf Community are involved in their programs.
Here are some amazing things:
Workshops with Auslan!
So far, LMA had conducted many religious and social workshops and lectures with Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreters.
Some of these were also live-streamed!
You can check out some of them here:
Friday Sermons in Auslan!
It is obligatory for Muslim brothers to attend Friday prayers. It is optional for Muslim sisters.
But many Muslims in Sydney with hearing loss did not have access or could understand the sermon.
Since we do not have any male Muslim interpreters who could physically be present at the mosque, Rebecca (our wonderful interpreter) videoed the Friday Sermon in Auslan, and then the video was shared live.
So far, they have 2 Friday sermons or Khutbah in Australian Sign Language! Check them out here.
Eid Prayer in Auslan!
Lakemba Mosque holds the largest Eid prayer in Sydney, and sometimes they invite politicians to give speeches.
For the first time ever, Auslan interpreter was at the Eid prayer and ceremony! It was also live streamed.
Quran in Auslan
The interpreter and some of the staff, sheikh and members of the Muslim and Deaf Community, (with support from the NSW Deaf Society) have been working together to create Quran in Auslan (Australian Sign Language)!
It’s another first and insha’Allah we have many more coming in the future.
To all the staff, interpreters, deaf community and muslim community involved in this, especially Samiha, Haj Ahmad and the Sheikh.
The LMA staff were coordinating with me, Deaf Brother Mevlut, Rebecca the interpreter and other deaf Muslims in the community.
For the future
Allhumdullilah LMA, and other mosques and centres in Sydney such as Imam Hussain Islamic Centre, United Muslims Australia, Masjid Arrahman and Al Emaan Australian Community, have held Deaf Friendly events with Auslan interpreters, provided us with organisational support and even live stream videos with Auslan.
It’s amazing steps foward. But we need to do more.
We need more exsisitng interpreters willing to learn more about Islam and interpreting in Muslim settings.
We also need more Muslims, including Males, to consider becoming proffessional sign language interpreters to help make religion accessible for deaf brothers and sisters in Sydney.
But please note, becoming interepreters does not mean just learning sign language. You would need to study and become qualified. It’s like becoming Arabic translator. But every small bit helps.
We need more mosques and places of worship becoming accessible. Alhumdillah now there are many in Sydney, but it’s important to make access in different locations and different places, partly to give Deaf Muslims choices.
Having said that, while there are now many mosques and centres willing to learn and make things accessible, we are just a small group of people making amazing changes.
For myself and fellow members of deaf community, who are more than happy working with the community and creating change, most of this is from our own free time and effort.
We do not get paid for our time and consultation, we do not have a strong foundation or orgnaistion, we do not have resources or paid staff to help the Muslim Community become accessible. Even the Auslan interpreters were booked using our NDIS funds for some of the programs.
This is why I am hoping my PhD will be able to provide insight and research on how we can best develop and build a Muslim Deaf Community in Sydney.
InshaAllah, while my PhD topic will focus on the voices and expereinces of Muslim women in Australia with hearing loss, I also aim to research on how to make moques and religion accessible and maybe one day to develop resources and guides for the community and mosques/centres.
ALhumdillah (All Praise be to God) for the all amazing acheivements.
For more information, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out previous posts!