Miss Mabrouk of Egypt

Check the archives too - a lot of good stuff to enjoy. Me myself? Off to new adventures in the blogosphere, if time permits.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Madrassa Abuse


Where is that hand going?

I really don't know what is going on here or where Dangerous got the picture from.


Just as worrying is this report:


Islamic schools under abuse scrutiny

The accounts are disturbing: beatings, forced sex and imprisonment with shackles and leg irons. Abuse accusations from hundreds of children sent to study at Islamic schools are prompting growing calls from parents and rights groups for a full-scale investigation.

Last year, a Pakistani official stunned his nation by officially disclosing more than 500 complaints of sexual assaults against young boys studying in madrassas.

Poor families often count on the nation's more than 10,000 madrassas to take one or more young sons to ease financial strains at home. The boys typically receive little more than Quranic studies for an education. But the big dividend for families is the housing, clothes and meals offered the boys. The schools, which have up to 1 million students, operate with almost no official oversight.

"The mullahs think they are above the law," said Asma Jehanghir, chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a nongovernment agency. "We have to break this wall of silence."

In the Middle East, few activists have demanded investigations into conditions in Islamic schools, but that could change as groups increasingly challenge traditional centers of influence. "Pakistan is now a center of the showdown between modernizing Islam and forces resisting change," said Irfan Khawaja, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York who follows Islamic affairs. "The madrassa issue is part of this. It will spread around the Islamic world."

Amnesty International and the Human Rights Council of Pakistan have recounted cases in Pakistan of students shackled to prevent escape and noted growing allegations of sex abuse.
"Leaders of religious parties resent official probing into the functioning of the madrassas and threaten retaliation if they are more closely controlled," Amnesty wrote.

Every discussion about Pakistan's madrassas leads eventually in an uncomfortable direction for authorities: the potential problems of leaning too hard on Islamic schools. The madrassas have ties to influential religious and political groups. The core of madrassa funding is a tour of powerful networks: government aid, Saudi donations and zakat, the traditional Islamic practice of giving alms.

Read the full story.

And this IS my last post before I travel. I've tried to upload the picture several times today but Blogger failed me until I gave it one last try.

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