Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland discuss the barriers Muslim Women experience
Lack of knowledge and the stigma that can surround disability are two topics that will be discussed by a new group set up by leading national sight loss charity RNIB for Muslim women who are blind or partially sighted.
The Muslim Sisters Group is holding a series of fortnightly online sessions that will let women from across the UK discuss their personal experiences of sight loss and the barriers and challenges they have faced, along with a chance to share tips and information.
Topics will include individual living skills, personal hygiene, well-being, health education, cultural attitudes to disability as well as marriage and relationships, fashion and beauty, and learning about Islam.
Mumtaz Unis, community development officer with RNIB Scotland, based in Edinburgh, said: “The topic of being blind and visually impaired isn’t discussed much within the Muslim community. For some it’s seen as a taboo subject that’s never addressed. For others, there’s rarely an opportunity to learn about how to manage your visual impairment or be independent.”
Sight loss is rarely discussed within the Muslim communities because it can be overshadowed by stigma and stereotypical attitudes towards a disability, says Mumtaz. “This is often the result of behavior, beliefs, and a way of living that is passed down from one generation to the next.
“Stigma can label a person by their illness where they are no longer seen as an individual but as part of a stereotyped group. Stigma can often originate from people’s perspectives and cultural behaviours. In previous generations, individuals were told to behave in a certain way because it was how they behaved with their parents. Lack of knowledge and support leads to reduced confidence in quality of life for the individual. Visual impairment and dealing with issues around stigma needs to be addressed.
“This is why, we’ve created this eight-session UK-wide Muslim Sisters group for ladies to come together and feel part of a community to ask questions and share tips on the above topics. This group is held fortnightly and has participants attending from all around UK, bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise.”