Middle East (MNN) — The term “Muslim-majority country” applies to places where nearly everyone follows Islam. It can also describe countries where Islam is the state religion.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? This term doesn’t always apply to the Deaf community.
“Often, religion is not communicated well to Deaf people,” Dan* from DOOR International explains.
“Many Deaf people, regardless of where they live, tend to think of religion as something that the Hearing culture does.”
Language barriers present the biggest problem in most cases, he continues. Most parents of Deaf children do not learn a sign language, thereby limiting communication and access to information.
“Generally speaking, the experience of Deaf people [worldwide] with religion tends to be rather shallow,” Dan says.
“The culture is not well communicated to Deaf people. They’re not learning language from their parents; why should they learn religion from their parents? Language is so foundational to be able to understand a religion and a religious system.”
DOOR recently began work in a Middle Eastern country we cannot name for security purposes. The Deaf-led organization is helping a small group of Deaf believers reach their neighbors for Christ.
Persecution presents problems for believers in general society in this region. However, “we don’t encounter hostility towards Christianity in the Deaf community,” Dan says.
“That’s, of course, a generalization, and situations do come up. But for the most part, it’s easier to minister and evangelize to people in Deaf communities because they’re not entrenched in the broader religions of their culture.”
Visit DOOR’s website to learn how you can support their work. Most importantly, pray. Ask the Lord to multiply the fruit of DOOR’s efforts so many Middle Eastern Deaf can know Christ.
“It’s pretty rare for a confirmed, devout Deaf Muslim to be experiencing Christ for the first time. Much more often, somebody from a Muslim family – who doesn’t understand what their family believes and what Islam means — encounters a (Deaf) Christian who understands what they believe and is intrigued,” Dan says.
“It’s unfortunate that Deaf people do not have access to information so they can make their own decisions about what they believe. But, in this sense, it provides an opportunity for us because they’re not actively hostile towards Christianity.”
*Name withheld for security purposes.
Header and story images courtesy of DOOR International.