I am Heydar Shahrestani, a profoundly deaf person, of Iranian descent, living in the UK. I have been deaf since birth. Growing up in the UK I was fortunate to be educated in schools for the deaf and, most importantly, was taught in British Sign Language (BSL). I was also taught about my religion Islam, and the Qu’ran, in Iranian Sign Language here in the UK.
Over the years, I visited Iran with my family. I realized that the majority of Iranian deaf men and women have no understanding of their religion – Islam. Why? Because it is not taught to them in their own language – Iranian Sign Language. It made me sad to witness this!
I decided to start a group whose aim is to teach deaf people in Iran the Qu’ran and other Islamic teachings in Iranian Sign Language with interpreters. With the help of my nephew, Mohammad Muayed, the teaching is videoed so other deaf people who are unable to attend these meetings can have access to our work.