Kitaba join Baitulmaal at ISNA Annual Convention
The fiftieth annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) was held in Washington DC from 30 August to 02 September this year. This ISNA convention is the highlight of American Muslim gatherings, bringing together over 30 thousand Muslims in a four day extravaganza of shopping and lectures by well-known Muslim scholars.
Baitulmaal, a charity working to raise awareness of the needs of Blind Muslims in the US, invited Kitaba’s Sayka Hussain to join its campaign to promote its Qur’anic Braille literacy campaign and awareness of visual impairment amongst US Muslims. Using visual impairment simulation glasses provided by Sayka, conference goers were able to experience first-hand what it was like to live with eye conditions such as cataract, tunnel vision, and loss of peripheral vision.
Of the many poignant reactions to this, one of the most touching came from a young man who, upon trying the glasses that simulated cataract, with tears in his eyes said, “Is this how my mother sees on a daily basis?” His mother had been diagnosed with cataract in both eyes a while back, and this was the first time he truly understood what that meant for her.
Using the English and Qur’an Arabic alphabets in braille provided by Kitaba, Baitulmaal’s Qur’anic Braille literacy campaign attracted much interest. As Baitulmaal plans to establish a similar Qur’anic teaching programme as Kitaba, they needed sighted people to learn Qur’anic Braille, who could then teach this to blind Muslims throughout the US. A few volunteers stepped up to the challenge, all determined to help blind Muslims to read the Qur’an in braille.
There was much interest in Kitaba’s books, a selection of which was displayed at the Baitulmaal booth. Community leaders from Houston, Ohio, New York and West Virginia sought Kitaba’s advice on how to be more inclusive and reach out to visually impaired Muslims within their communities.
Kitaba made some valuable contacts including that of Miraj Audio, a UK based company that produces stories in audio formats for Muslim children, and Azizah magazine who recently highlighted the issue of disability in the US Muslim community.
The ISNA convention cemented Kitaba’s relationship with Baitulmaal; both organisations are now more than ever determined to assist each other and share expertise in providing much needed awareness raising campaigns in both the UK and US.