Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- Majed Mubarak, a deaf teenager is always keen to attend the Friday prayers. However, he always arrives late as his disability prohibits him from hearing and understanding the sermon that is delivered by the Imam of the mosque. Majed asserted that on many occasions he has tried to follow the sermon by lip-reading the Imam but to no avail.
Majed is one of 10,000 cases in Saudi Arabia, according to the latest statistical study by the Amal Institute for the Deaf and Mute, of disabled people who state that they do not receive the appropriate care. Ahmed Saleh, one of the students of the Amal Institute for the Deaf and Mute in Najran said, “I wish that the state would provide specialized interpreters especially in the big mosques where there are distinguished religious figures. They could allocate a special area for us. The concerned authorities should then distribute notices informing us of which mosques offer these requirements so that we could regularly attend.”
Ahmed Saleh said that he was more optimistic about the willingness of Saudi society to accept the deaf and the mute especially after sign language had been added to some television programs. Ahmed Eidrous, another student from the Amal Institute, noted that despite the spirituality of the holy month of Ramadan refreshing his faith, he could not find any mosques that would interpret religious lectures in sign language. He expressed his hope that this would soon be available.
In support of the deaf and mute community, DHL Saudi Arabia organized for students of the Amal Institute to take part in the Muslim pilgrimage, Umrah. The students were also taken to the coastal city of Jeddah where the DHL officials interpreted a detailed explanation about the industry of international express delivery and the process that the company undertakes from the moment it receives parcels until delivery and what takes place in between.