x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Sign language for worshippers

Programme helps people with special needs to integrate more effectively into society.

A sermon is presented in sign language for hearing impaired visitors at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
A sermon is presented in sign language for hearing impaired visitors at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

ABU DHABI // A group of Emiratis with special needs was welcomed to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque with a rare sign-language sermon during Friday prayers.

The visit last week was part of the Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care's programme to help those with special needs integrate more effectively with society.

"We're introducing more initiatives with sign language," Raja Hassan, a sign-language translator for Abu Dhabi Television, said.

Mr Hassan can be frequently seen on Uluum al Dar, an ADTV programme for the deaf community that is conducted in Arabic sign language.

"Hopefully, we will see them begin to do this with all the Friday prayers," he said. "And after the Friday prayers we will attempt to add sign language to all government services.

"It is important for children with special needs to go out and integrate with society. It's usually a very healthy experience for them. They were delighted with it.

"They came from all over, including Al Ain, and the northern Emirates. Most of the congregation who were already present in the mosque were very interactive - some regular worshippers helped us to co-ordinate the group, to lift wheelchairs and to ensure that the group worshipped in line with the rest of the congregation."

Talal al Mazrouei, the director of events and activities at the mosque, said: "The centre is always keen on strengthening partnerships with all local community organisations".

Mr Mazrouei also helped the mosque to organise a special reception for the group.

hhamid@thenational.ae