Kitaba in Malaysia, Singapore and Australia
Abdul Aziz Ahmed, Chair of the Islamic Texts for the Blind, recently returned from an eventful trip to Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. His trip was planned to take full advantage of his winter holidays, leaving straight from his job at North Lanarkshire Learning and Leisure Services on 21st December returning two weeks later going straight to work on his arrival.
The long journey took him first to Kuala Lumpur where he met up with his brother Salim Fredericks and friends who had travelled up from Singapore to meet him. On Friday 23rd December, they visited the Malaysian Association for Islamic Blind Persons (Pertis) who produce Islamic texts for the Blind in Malay and Arabic including Braille Qurans. They gave Abdul Aziz a presentation on Quran production and they discussed further developments including the purchase of Qurans for Blind people in the UK, Europe and America. We have had many requests over the last year but had difficulty finding a reliable supplier of Qurans in Braille that were easy to read for non-Arabs. As the Qurans are reasonably priced at around £30 each for 5 volumes, it should be easy to get sponsors for individual Qurans which can then be given directly to Braille users.
From Kuala Lumpur Abdul Aziz took the drive to Singapore where he was hosted at the Ba Alawi Mosque. This mosque is active in interfaith and community work. The Imam of the Mosque, Syed Hasan bin Muhammad al-Attas recently wrote the foreword to Kitaba’s books Taqwa and Knowledge and Worship. He gave a talk on community activism highlighting the work of Kitaba and some of its partners including RUM and Merhaba in Denmark. Links were made with the Religious and Educational League of Radin Mas (www.bapa.org.sg) who provide programmes for disabled Muslims including a weekly class for 32 Blind and Visually Impaired People.
After three days in Singapore, he flew to Adelaide. In Australia, he had a full teaching programme with the Ayn Academy (http://www.aynacademy.com/), a community based group who provide traditional Islamic classes taught by local and international scholars and charity work including a regular soup kitchen to the poorest communities in the Adelaide area. The Ayn Academy organised and funded the trip and used the opportunity to raise funds for Blind people in the local community. The programme was called the Insights tour and involved classes on Kitaba’s books and on community development and disability. Among the courses Abdul Aziz taught was a production that Kitaba have been working on for some time. It is a translation and commentary on a classical text on child development and parenting entitled Riyadatul Sibyan by Imam al-Ramli. Kitaba and the Ayn Academy are soon to open a facebook group to continue the work started in the course. Abdul Aziz found it quite difficult to teach as he had an accident in which he broke his hand and damaged his hip.
The Insight programme ended with a joint programme between Kitaba, Ayn Academy and the Royal Society for the Blind. The Ayn Academy presented cheques to each of the two organisations each for $2401.
It is hoped that this will be the beginning of a strong relationship between the Islamic Texts for the Blind and its supporters and friends in the Far East and Australia.
Seven pictures follow..