۱۶ آذر ۱۳۹۸ |٩ ربيع الآخر ١٤٤١ | Dec 7, 2019
Calgary mosque strives to increase awareness, acceptance of Muslims with disabilities

Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre wants to get people talking more about physical and mental disabilities, changing the narrative and challenging misconceptions around Muslims with special needs and their families.

Hawzah News Agency - A Calgary Islamic centre is working to improve how people with disabilities are viewed and treated in the Muslim community, as well as improving accessibility to its mosque, welcoming more disabled worshippers.

Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre wants to get people talking more about physical and mental disabilities, changing the narrative and challenging misconceptions around Muslims with special needs and their families.

The senior imam at Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre in northeast Calgary included the topic in a Khutba, or sermon, for the first time last week.

The centre has also been working towards completing a checklist of changes that could make it the first mosque in Canada to meet a Mosque certification program laid out by U.S. non-profit Muhsen, which advocates for Muslims with disabilities and pushes for mosques to be more inclusive.

"This is about acceptance and understanding, building a more inclusive community," said Nada Merhi, vice chair of Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, and the driving force behind the change.

"I want to make sure there are no families left behind or no individuals left behind," said Merhi. "We are collectively responsible for each other."

Some in the community associate disabilities with shame and even punishment — as something to hide. In parts of the Arab world, Africa and South Asia, disability is still a taboo subject, with disabled citizens excluded from many aspects of life and ostracized.

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