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Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities

Posted Dec 02 2010 9:19am
CAMD (Canadian Association of Muslims with Disabilities) are a group of muslims who are trying to bring about social change and opportunities for inclusion within the Muslim communities here in the GTA.

I joined this organisation last year and have participated in their monthly meetings and a social event they held last Eid.


Disability within the Muslim Community

Since I moved back to Canada with my son's autism diagnosis I have been eager to find other Muslims families living with autism and other learning disabilities. I have been keen to find ways to include myself in the activities of Muslims who are often blissfully unaware of the severity of autism and learning disabilities (until it happens to them).

Other than lack of awareness there seems to be a general consensus that "making dua and doing sabr" (i.e. praying to Allah and exercising patience) is going to solve your problems. This is the advice I often get from my community members, who are very loving and supportive of us.

I love my sisters and brothers in Islam for the sake of Allah. However only making dua and doing sabr is not going to make these issues go away. There needs to be programs and a genuine effort to include families and children/adults with disabilities in your lives.

But call for volunteers, space in mosques for programs, funding and other help is ignored or just met with a kind of helpless apathy.

I don't know what it is. So I will use myself as an example. I am in this now because I am personally affected. However if someone had called me or asked me to volunteer at some event for say the blind, a few years ago, when we did not have autism in our lives, I probably would have behaved in a similar manner. My husband comes late from work, I am pregnant, I have got little kids that need to be put to bed, its a week night and so on could have been my excuses.

People do seem to come out when there is a social event that involves food and sitting around tables and talking, but when it comes to a regular commitment to getting work done, that is hard. It is hard because it takes away from your regular routine, you have to choose something else over what you normally do in your daily lives.

You have a lazy teenager playing video games in the basement, or a university student who is out wasting time on nights out, but when it comes time for involvement in such activities, it is getting in the way of assignments, exams and other more important things in their lives.

Ask yourself why?

CAMD Effort

CAMD have been trying to secure space for a drop-in night for children and adults with disabilities to give their families some free respite and provide an opportunities for the disabled individuals to interact with others in the Muslim Community.

Most of the mosques in the GTA have refused to provide space for various reasons ranging from liability issues to costs, to "Who will lock up at night after you guys leave". Seriously? You mean none of the young brothers, and responsible sisters who are lounging in their homes can't spare a few minutes once a week to take on the responsibility of locking up a few doors?

Our organiser, who has been running this thing for 12 years made a point yesterday that if they had gone to a church, they would have got the facilities, and maybe even a few bake sales.

I was so happy to see a young university student and a grandmother who has recently completed her ECE at the CAMD meeting last night willing to volunteer.

Where are all the passionate supporters of Islam and reprimanders of sin? Come out of your homes and enjoin this good. Take ownership and responsibility for your brothers and sisters. Don't leave them to go asking for help from other people when you have the time, man-power and the money. Do it like it is for your family.

CAMD are now organizing a Drop-in Activity Night every Wednesday from December 1, 2010 to June 15, 2011.

Time: 6 pm to 9 pm
Location: Applewood Public School
3675 Thomas Street, Mississauga

They need volunteers to manage the activities. They need funding and support.

Now that you have read this and know about it, you are accountable for inaction.

For more information you can email camd@camd.ca or just contact me and I can point you in the right direction.
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