Saudi Islamic scholar and social worker takes up cause for disabled people

Dr. Mohsin Shaikh Al-Hassan

:: Saudi Islamic scholar, TV host and social worker Dr. Mohsin Shaikh Al-Hassan has taken up the cause for people with special needs.

Al-Hassan, who has formed the Riyadh-based Handicapped Volunteers Club, made the call after the traffic department launched its fifth field campaign on Friday with 443 vehicles seized for being parked in disabled spaces in various regions of the Kingdom.

The field campaign was ordered by the General Administration of Traffic on a directive from Brig. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Al-Bassami, director general of the traffic department, to establish a culture of respect for the rights of people with special needs.

Al-Hassan said that parking in spaces for handicapped people is being unconscionable.

“What’s worse is that these erring drivers even shamelessly indicate on their cars that they’re of special needs, when in fact they are not,” he said, citing reports that the drivers claimed that they have special needs.

He urged the Saudi government to go after not only drivers who park in spaces reserved for disabled people, but also others who deprive them of other services like restaurants.

He said that many restaurants have stairs but have no facilities to enable disabled people in a wheelchair to enter and avail themselves of their services.

“One time I saw a handicapped man and asked him why he was not entering the restaurant in front of him. And he said he could not because he was in a wheelchair,” Al-Hassan said.

He said inability to help or extend services to Saudi people with disabilities is a crime and many are unaware of the fact that “the government has a soft spot for paralyzed people.”

“They don’t know that their wheelchairs were purchased at the expense of the government,” said Al-Hassan who received his doctorate degree in radio, TV and film at Temple University in the US.

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