The following letter from Arif Babul is his response to this week’s post Challenges facing Deaf Ismailis around the world, and what the Jamat can do to support them. The editor felt that the letter should receive a wider readership than it might get in the feedback section of the Deaf article; hence this separate post.
By ARIF BABUL
I applaud Simerg for drawing attention to this extremely important issue [Deaf Ismailis] that goes to the heart of inclusivity within our community. And, I am delighted – thrilled – to read about the fledgling efforts to reach out our hearing-challenged brothers and sisters. Definitely a step in the right direction!! But, I would like to highlight that in addition to deaf Ismailis, there are Ismailis with other challenges who also find it very difficult to immerse themselves as deeply in the Jamatkhana (JK) and communal activities as they want. Sometimes these are due to barriers that the rest of us have created (and maintain) because we view their challenges as a negative, a result of karma, or whatever.
I would encourage your readers to query themselves: Do we hold implicit or explicit biases? And do these cause us to act in way that causes hurt or just deprives others of feeling like they are valued members of our jamat? Our ethics are clear on this: It is the duty of each and everyone of us to act in a way that brings a spark of hope (and happiness) to others. On this note, I would like to draw attention to one particular progressive jurisdiction that is showing the rest of us the way: UK. There are JKs in the UK where the front row is reserved for deaf people who are able to lip read so they can read Mukhi/Kamadias’ (M/K) and the reciters’ lips during JK. And on a handful of occasions, a student with Downs Syndrome has been appointed Student Majalis M/K.
Date posted: July 10, 2020.
Arif Babul is distinguished Professor of Astronomy and Physics at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.
He has contributed numerous articles to Simerg, including a highly interesting multi-part interview. We invite our readers to read them by clicking on the following links:
1. Arif Babul in Coversation with Simerg (multipart)
2. Midnight Meditation
3. Khwaja Nasir Tusi’s Tales (I Wish I’d Been There Series)
4. Eyewitness Account and Photos of 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
5. Photos in article Ismaili Castles in Syria
6. BBC Episode: Journey to the Centre of the Earth
External Link: We invite our readers to read The Ismaili article Dismantling the Barriers of Disability The featured photo at top of this post is from the article.
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