Translating Disability in a Muslim Community: A Case of Modular Translation

Nissim Mizrachi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines how Muslim religious leaders (imams) introduce the liberal notion of disability to their communities in Israel. The project described, initiated and supported by an American NGO, provides a case for exploring how the secular notion of disability rights is cast and recast in a Muslim world of meaning. It focuses on the mediation strategy that I call modular translation, employed by imams in sermons delivered for the purpose of altering or improving the status and conditions of people with disabilities. This strategy, as it emerged from the analysis, entails decoupling norms of conduct from their underlying justifications. It thus suggests that norms of conduct are open to change so long as the believers' cosmology remains intact. As such, this turn may offer new avenues of thinking and acting about globalizing human rights within the arena of health and disability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-159
Number of pages27
JournalCulture, Medicine and Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Cultural mediation
  • Disability rights
  • Islam
  • Liberalism
  • Modular translation


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