SANTA CLARA, California - Seeking to help deaf Muslims to read the Noble Qur'an, an Islamic organization has launched a new campaign to translate the holy book into American sign language.
Global Deaf Muslim (GDM) is the only organization in the US that focuses on providing deaf Muslims with access to Islamic knowledge, Davi Barker wrote in an editorial on the Examiner website.The campaign was launched by GDM during an event at the Muslim Community Association (MCA) in the South bay, California.
The event, also attended by GDM President Nashiru Abdulai, began with a brief presentation on common Islamic vocabulary in sign language.
Later, deaf Muslims offered personal anecdotes about growing up cut off from most community activities.
For most deaf Americans English is really their second language and ASL is their first, Barker said.
So, deaf Muslims are in the double quandary of not having Islamic texts they can thoroughly understand, and not having teachers who can adequately answer their questions.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
Barker appealed for collective efforts of Muslim scholars, linguists and professional videographers to render the campaign a success.
ASL is a visual language incorporating not only gestures but motion, posture and facial expressions, Barker, a Muslim convert himself, said.
To achieve these objectives, the GDM called for Muslim organizations to facilitate the provision of ASL Interpreters at mosques and Islamic events.
It has also planned several fundraising events to collect the needed costs.
The group currently requests donations of $1,350 to sponsor the production a chapter in the 114 chapter book, Barker said.
The goal is to produce and distribute a DVD of the entire Qur'an performed in sign language free of charge for deaf people all over the world.
The videos will also be available over the internet through the GDM website.
GDM is a non-profit organization registered in the United States.
It was established in 2005 by Deaf Muslim graduates to address the rights and needs of deaf Muslims across the globe.
The organization sets its vision on its website as A Muslim Ummah that recognizes the rights of deaf Muslims and actively strives to ensure that it is accessible and inclusive of all Muslims.To advocate for the advancement and inclusion of Deaf Muslims in the Muslim Ummah and to raise awareness of Deaf Muslims issues within the broader Muslim community, it adds in its mission.