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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

UK Madrassah Blues?

Radio 4 aired a report last night about Maddrassah's in the UK. These are additional Muslim schools were Muslim children are taught the Koran, and are made to memorize it. The report aired concerns that these institutions are entirely unregulated and unsupervised. The rules and child protection regimes that apply to schools etc, do not apply to them. No CRB checks are required on the staff (normally volunteers), nor inspections of the institutions. Corporal punishment is allowed. About 1/4 million children go to these Madrassahs, of which there are an estimated 3500 in the UK. Freedom of information requests have revealed that there have been at least 400 allegations of physical abuse since 2009, of which only 10 have gone to court, and there have been only 2 successful prosecutions. In the same period, there have been 30 cases raised of sexual abuse, of which there have been 3 prosecutions, only one of which was successful. In one case a head of one of these schools had previously been convicted of child sex abuse and imprisoned in the past, yet he was in charge of the institution, had never had a CRB check. Of particular note to Pakistani Christians is the way the actions of the community match the experience of Christians. In one case, several children reported a respected imam when he sexually abused them. Police were called and the imam eventually convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison. However, the victims were continually teased, ridiculed, shamed, and they and their families underwent threats and intimidation. This was a repeated theme - that parents were pressurised to keep quiet and not go to the police, over cases of physical and sexual abuse. They had to not bring shame on Islam, and that if they went to the authorities or spoke out they would be 'doing as the enemies of Islam do'. This is evidence of the Sharia-mindset that results in attacks and death threats against converts to Christianity, and even the families of such converts from the Islamic community, of which Pakistani's are a significant subset.
In addition it strongly suggests that this Sharia-type mindset means that the significant portions of the Islamic community are complicit in covering up serious criminal matters, including physical and sexual abuse of children, and this needs to be addressed. It amply demonstrates the dangers of tolerance towards Sharia law, and the need to rigorously enforce the principle of one law for all - UK law.
You can listen to the program or read a written version There is a further related article here.

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