In the path of my continuous efforts to provide authentic, interesting and updated information to our sisters & brothers in dharma worldwide I present this paper containing news about real life incidents happening in the Islamic world. Far from the Muslims claim about the holiness and sanctity of their religious schools commonly known as madrassas is the fact that these so called schools have become actually havens for sex abuse by the religious teachers or maulvis.
Let us read the story step by step. The news initially was reported by BBC News, Islamabad on Friday, 10 December, 2004 is as follows:
A Pakistani minister has revealed hundreds of cases of alleged child sex abuse at Islamic schools, or madrassas.
There were 500 complaints this year of abuse allegedly committed by clerics, Aamer Liaquat Hussain, a minister in the religious affairs department, said. That compares with 2,000 last year, but as yet there have been no successful prosecutions, Mr. Hussain told the BBC.
The minister's revelations have sparked death threats and infuriated some religious political leaders. Mr. Hussain said he had received death threats from clerics, but that he had done his job and his conscience was clear.
The time had come for his country to face the bitter truth - the sickness of child abuse, he said. The allegations involving Pakistan's Sunni majority and Shia minority referred to a tiny proportion of the country's 10,000 or so madrassas, he said. He added that the body responsible for them, the Federation of Madrassas, was willing to co-operate with investigations because some clerics were bringing a bad name to Islam.
However, the revelations have angered some Islamic leaders. At a parliamentary meeting this week, some demanded he apologise.
The nature of accusations against these maulvis included severe beatings, forced sex and imprisonment with shackles and leg irons. The reactions of the officials have been very sluggish and cautious in probing the charges of mistreatment in such madrassas without any significant arrests or prosecutions involving alleged sex abuse in these schools. Moreover, the man behind the revelations Aamer Liaquat Hussain, the Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs later refused to discuss the issue after having received death threats and harsh criticism from Islamic leaders.
On December 23, 2004 the Daily Times of Pakistan carried a full fledged condemnation of such incidents by Razi Azmi who is a columnist and freelance writer in the following words:
By claiming that cases of sexual abuse of minors by religious teachers need not be made public, our religious affairs minister effectively gave the maulvis a collective certificate of past and future good conduct. Moreover, it guaranteed any transgressors immunity from public scrutiny. All this in a country where such incidents of abuse are rather widespread
He confesses that sex crimes against children are rampant but unreported or unexposed in the religious schools of Pakistan;
Sexual crimes against children are rarely reported in our country; when reported, rarely discussed and when discussed, never adequately
In some Pakistani madrassas, wayward children are known to be kept in chains, sometimes with parental consent. In the rare event of a case of child sexual abuse being reported, it is standard practice to mount pressure on the aggrieved parents, who usually hail from the poorer segments of society, to withdraw the charges. Recently, some teachers of a Peshawar government school were merely transferred to other schools after it was revealed that they had long been involved in sexual abuse of students. At about the same time, the family of a five-year old boy who had been sexually assaulted by the maulvi of a mosque in Lahore was pressurised to withdraw the case even though the investigation and DNA tests had conclusively identified the culprit.
A story in the Telegraph of February 8, describes in painful detail the case of 16-year-old Abid Tanoli who is recovering from an acid attack which all but destroyed both his eyes and left his face horribly disfigured. He was punished for refusing, about two year ago, to have sex with his teacher at a religious school in a lower middle-class neighbourhood in Karachi. Despite tremendous pressure, his father is pressing charges. The maulvi and his two accomplices have been arrested.
According to concerned lawyers and social workers, the sexual abuse of children is not uncommon in Pakistan, especially in the segregated surroundings of the countrys estimated 20,000 religious schools, but cases involving maulvis are rarely if ever exposed. Zia Ahmed Awan, the president of Madadgaar, a joint project of LHRLA (Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid) and the UNICEF, is quoted as saying that they are either hushed up and sorted out within the confines of school, or parents are pressured not to report the incident to the media as it would give religion a bad name.
This is in keeping with our pervasive avoidance of washing dirty linen in public, thereby helping to perpetuate social evils. It also conforms to the tradition of sanctifying religion to the extent that we are not even prepared to take the first indispensable step namely, openness to protect our children from abuse by people who use their religious authority for their nefarious deeds.
Something to remember:
The practice of involving in sex with minors is embedded inside the Islamic theology and subsequent historical records. Since it is beyond the scope of this document it will surely be discussed in another paper. For now it will not be blasphemous to say that such monstrous and detestable acts have precedents in the Islamic scriptures. But as always, the so called modern, liberal and progressive Muslim intelligentsias have condemned the end result without even going anywhere near the source which is at its core evil. These maulvis have just tried to follow what they read and preach like any good Muslim. So where is truly their mistake? Islamically they are one hundred percent correct. So why do they have double standards to judge the same category of crimes committed in the past and those in present? While one person is regarded almost like God the others are condemned for similar acts. What a shameless hypocrisy!
As long as these so called liberal Islamists keep up a blind eye to this evil source Muslims will continue to be a menace in this world. Like Irfan Khawaja, writing for the Web site of the Institute for the Secularization of Islamic Society believes that it is the culture common to Islamic nations that is morally dysfunctional. He notes incidents of gang rape in Punjab( in Pakistan), "mass rape in Darfur, female genital mutilation across parts of Muslim Africa, and honor killings of girls," concluding that "it would appear to be time for our holier-than-thou sermonizers to introspect a bit and focus on some of their own sexual hangups."
But how and wherefrom these Islamic nations have derived their culture? Can the world have the true and honest answer for once please!
Yours in Dharma,