An imam in southwestern Muğla province learned sign language in order to give sermons to deaf Muslims. Idris Sarı, the imam of Akyol Mosque in Menteşe district, said he learned sign language to better communicate with handicapped believers in his community. Sarı said he took up sign language at a community training center run by the Presidency of Religious Affairs (DIB), and successfully completed courses after three months. Now, Sarı uses sign language to give his sermons at Friday prayers. “At first, the community found it a bit odd but they quickly appreciated my effort after seeing handicapped believers showing up at prayers. Now we have eight handicapped faithful in our community. I chat with them after the prayer and answer their religious questions. I am really happy to be able to help them,” Sarı said, adding that he also gives Quran lessons in sign language twice a week.
Local mufti Mustafa Aydın said Sarı’s efforts were well received in the community and he hoped more imams would take up sign language. “We hope to extend this practice in the future. We want to be able to connect with everyone across the country, Aydın said.