Join the #DisabilityKhutba Campaign in Our Push for Inclusion, Recognition and Acceptance

By: Dilshad Ali

Originally published on the Muslim Channel, Muslimah Next Door, in Patheos

“He (Musa) said: ‘Oh my Lord! Expand my breast for me and make my affair easy to me, and loose the knot from my tongue (that) they may understand my word … (Quran 20:25:28)”

We are committed to owning our own narratives and taking action in many worthy arenas. But what about the most vulnerable in our communities? What of their families? What about the spiritual struggles of families with special needs — embracing them, including them, connecting them to resources, helping them in the myriad of ways that they need help? What are we doing for Muslims dealing with special needs?

 Not much. And that’s unacceptable for our Ummah.

 I wrote those words more than three years ago during a time when I was a year and a half into chronicling my son’s and our family’s autism journey and harboring more than a decade’s worth of frustration at the lack of our Muslim communities’ inclusion and support of Muslims with intellectual and physical disabilities.

Frustration at my son being left out. Our family being left out. Our needs not being recognized and more so, when we made attempts to join various masjids for Jummah prayers or various halaqas/events, unknowing members of the congregation made us feel less than welcome.

But the landscape is different now. Not vastly so, but the proverbial tides are definitely changing. Awareness is growing and various organizations have made significant headway in helping masjids create a more inclusive environment for people with disabilities, in informing general Muslim communities on the various struggles their disabled brothers and sisters are living with and helping disabled Muslims and their families get connected to more support services.

But there is so much more to be done, so much more growth and change needed. Sometimes we get down about awareness, thinking that our focus must be on action. But the reality in our Muslim communities is that both are needed.

Now, the #DisabilityKhutba campaign is giving us all the chance to participate in disability awareness and action. Join us in urging your masjid to give a #DisabilityKhutba this Friday, October 28th. Check out the EquallyAble website :

EquallyAble, along with a number of other national organizations is calling for observing Friday, October 28, 2016 as the  #DisabilityKhutba Observance Day. #DisabilityKhutba is a national khutba awareness campaign hosted by a coalition of like-minded organizations that are working towards the empowerment of people with disabilities and their families in the U.S. and around the world. The campaign will begin in October, which is Disability Awareness Month in the U.S., and run through December to mark International Disability Day. Towards this end, Friday, October 28th is designated as #DisabilityKhutba Observance Day, a day where people will come together to honor those with disabilities and to promote their inclusion in society.

We are thankful to the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), the Muslim American Society DC, ProjectSakina, the Texas Muslim Women Foundation (TMWF), American Muslim Health Professionals (AMHP) EnabledMuslim, MUHSEN, SMILE, and Global Deaf Muslim for their feedback, support, encouragement, and for endorsing the Understanding Disability in Islam guide and this campaign. EquallyAble is also thankful to the many speakers, presenters, and scholars that took inspiration from the Understanding Disability in Islam guide to conduct khutbas, seminars, and presentations.

We need your help to make this a success. We need your help to turn the dial further to help make our Muslim communities more aware, more inclusive and more embracing of those with disabilities and special needs and their families.

Click here to learn more about the campaign.

Click here to join the Facebook event.

Use the #DisabilityKhutba hashtag this week to tweet on this topic – about what you want to know, what you’d like to hear, if your masjid gave a disability khutba and so on.

Help us in our struggle for real, meaningful – not token – inclusion.

Some Steps to Help Make Your Masjid and Community Center More Inclusive

Muslim woman reading braille; title is ISNA ConventionAt the 2012 Convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), speakers on a panel entitled, “Improving Inclusion and Accessibility for Muslims with Disabilities,” created and shared a guide entitled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” The guide provides some helpful tips about how to make your mosque or Islamic community center more inclusive of people with disabilities.