A deaf couple have told how they are finally learning the language of love after years of searching for the perfect partner.

Aftab Hussain, 30, of Lidget Green, spent two years in his and his family's quest to find him the perfect bride who was a committed Muslim, who was deaf and whose personality gelled with his.

This week he was united with Nargis Shahim, 25, from Rawalpindi in Pakistan, and the couple have started the process of learning each other's sign language.

Nargis communicates in Pakistani Sign Language and Aftab, in British Sign Language.

Their smiles say it all: their by-the-book Islamic arranged marriage has made them very happy. Now they want the world to know that despite all the obstacles life put in their way, the search was worth it.

Aftab, a deaf development worker at Thornbury Youth Centre, had never been to Pakistan.

But after seeing Nargis's picture and hearing about her from friends of friends he decided to travel thousands of miles to meet her.

"I was very emotional and very stressed before I left," he said, adding that he had been introduced to several potential wives and had rejected them because they did not seem right.

Nargis said when she first saw him she was nervous. "Then I was relieved and very calm," she added.

They signed to each other for hours using a book of symbols to bridge the language gap and their families discussed the union for some weeks.

Finally the wedding ceremony took place and Aftab flew home again and Nargis joined him last Saturday.

Aftab said: "I want us to both work hard and be patient and develop together. I want to show by example and have Islam play a great role in our marriage. It's not all about the woman staying at home and the man going out earning his keep. I want us to be happy and to be equal."

Nargis said her first impressions of Bradford was that it was very clean and that she liked it.

"The people are nice in Pakistan. There are good people but the countryside is not very developed."

She was also given a guided tour of Leeds which she found very exciting, particularly the very smooth train journey from Bradford.

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