MI: BRAILLE QURAN DONATED TO MICHIGAN ISLAMIC CENTER
The Kukaldosh Madrassa in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, for centuries has prepared young Muslims for leadership roles. Recently, it became one of the few institutions that publish Braille editions of the Quran, which enable the blind to read Muslim scripture. When the madrassa wanted to donate an eight-volume Braille Quran to an American mosque, the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, was a logical recipient. The Dearborn mosque is one of the oldest and largest in the United States.
The Braille Quran was sent ahead to Dearborn and officially presented to the Islamic Center on April 4 by Brad Hanson, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent. Hanson told USINFO the embassy acted as an intermediary to transmit the Quran from the madrassa and people of Uzbekistan "to a worthy American Muslim institution with some ties to Uzbekistan."
Imam Sayed Hassan Qazwini, accepting the Braille Quran, said there could be no better gift. He gave Hanson a letter of gratitude addressed "to the people of Uzbekistan," for "the most appreciative gift of all, Al Qur'an."
The mosque, located in the suburbs of Detroit near the Ford Motor Company, has hosted a number of Uzbek participants in the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Program. Eide Alawan, director of the Islamic Center's office for interfaith outreach, said the Braille Quran first was mentioned during the visit of eight Uzbek imams in 2006. He told USINFO, "When we heard that Uzbekistan would like to give us a set of Qurans, we were elated."
"We are honored to receive it, and we will have a library that will include all areas now," Alawan said. "We probably won't loan them out, but anyone wishing to come in here and read them will be welcome to do so."
Alawan said the Dearborn congregation has members from many countries and traditions, particularly Arabs from Lebanon and Palestine. His own father emigrated from Syria in 1910 to escape an oppressive Ottoman Empire.