01 October 2019

Thousands of mosques now disabled-friendly

Turkey's Presidency of Religious Affairs (DİB) announced that nearly 20,000 mosques in the country now have better accessibility for the faithful with disabilities.

DİB, which oversees the mosques in 81 provinces of the country, launched an initiative in 2012 for "disabled-friendly mosques," to install lifts and modified entrances to places of worship. The presidency aims to have at least one mosque in each district of each province partially rebuilt to address the needs of the disabled. They install wheelchair lifts, modified fountains to perform ablution and lavatories for the disabled.

Bünyamin Albayrak, the head of DİB's Religious Services Directorate, says they want more mosques to be accessible for disabled Muslims. "Currently, some 20% of mosques in Turkey are accessible for the disabled. Along with lifts and other features, we have 48 mosques where the religious talks are given in sign language. We want to increase this number as many as possible every year," he told Anadolu Agency (AA). DİB also posts Friday sermons in sign language every week on its social media accounts. For religious education, the presidency provide Qur'an classes across Turkey for the disabled. Albayrak says 2,743 disabled students, with disabilities ranging from visual impairment to learning difficulties, attend those classes.