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

“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 o … [Read more...]

On the Front Lines of Autism, Not Terrorism

Like millions of other Americans (and global citizens), my husband, daughter and I gathered together to watch the first of the 2016 presidential debates between Republican candidate Donald J. Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary R. Clinton. A mere ten minutes into it though, I was ready to check out.Not because I was fed up or frustrated with the debate, but because it was approaching D’s bedtime. So I headed to his room to hang out with him until he was fully sleepy and ready to call it a … [Read more...]

14 Ways to Help Your Child with Special Needs Succeed in a Religious School

Editor's Note: Raising my son D (who is autistic) and contemplating what a religious education -- whether in a day school or a Sunday school -- has to offer children like him is something I've thought a lot about. While I never considered enrolling D in our local Sunday School or religious day school (because his needs were to great for them to accommodate), I know others in my community who have struggled to get their special needs children enrolled in a religious educational … [Read more...]

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ISNA Disability Narratives: A Purpose to Why God Created You As You Are

This post is part of a short series of disability narratives shared by the speakers and moderator (me!), who will be part of a panel discussion on "Finding Our Voice: Sharing our Disability Experiences to Seek Empowerment and Affect Change" this Saturday at the Islamic Society of North America convention. We're hoping to show how sharing our stories is a way to build community and change perceptions.By Sara MinkaraRed. Yellow. Green. Orange—all the colors of fall that many of us look fo … [Read more...]

Engaging v. Disengaging: When Working With ISNA Means the Push for Women-Friendly Mosques

It’s a debate I’ve watched from the sidelines for several years within the American Muslim community.When organizations (or the government agencies or administrations) are making missteps, deliberately harming or are simply and woefully behind the times when it comes to positive engagement and necessary progress, is better to disengage (even boycott), or is it better to constructively criticize and work from within the system – and thereby risk being lumped with some of those missteps – to af … [Read more...]

Fifteen

In passing by the bathroom where D was showering, my niece remarks, he sure sings a lot in the shower. Yes, he does. D sings, he hums, he makes sounds and gets up in your face with a loud, fast cacophony of babbles when he is trying so hard to convey something to you. His face comes close to yours as if to say – don’t you get what I’m trying to say? Understand me.We, his closest loved ones, know the lilt, strength, cadence, tone, melody and volume of his sounds so well. The satisfactory noise … [Read more...]

From Access to Belonging – On the ADA and the Muslim Special Needs and Disability Community’s Journey

This weekend I was honored to participate and speak at an event organized by the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition -- "From Access to Belonging: An Interfaith Service Celebrating the Progress and Promise of the ADA." It is part of several events happening in Washington D.C. and around the country to honor the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disability Act, a landmark piece of legislation. It's interesting that the ADA, which holds most of our public life accountable … [Read more...]