Muslim children are being beaten and abused regularly by teachers at some British madrassas - Islamic evening classes - an investigation by The Times has found.Say it ain’t so!
Students have been slapped, punched and had their ears twisted, according to an unpublished report by an imam based on interviews with victims in the north of England. One was “picked up by one leg and spun around” while another said a madrassa teacher was “kicking in my head - like a football”, says the report which was compiled by Irfan Chishti, a former government adviser on Islamic affairs.Well, this puts the cat among the pigeons for the chattering classes, doesn’t it? Teachers are repeatedly told that any punishment, let alone corporal punishment, is abhorrent and wounds children’s self esteem. Which is part of the reason we have problems in schools with discipline, as so ably described by some teachers.
But, it remains verboten in this country. So there’ll be demonstrations in the street over this, surely:
While there is no hard evidence to indicate how many are involved in the physical abuse of children, The Times has uncovered a disturbing pattern in one town - Rochdale - through interviews with mainstream school teachers, Muslim parents and the children themselves.Makes a whack with a ruler look tame, doesn’t it?
One woman told The Times that her niece Hiba, 7, was slapped across the face so hard by her madrassa teacher that her ear was cut. It later became inflamed and she had to have emergency medical treatment.
So, what’s the reason for this savagery? Well, it seems it’s innocent ignorance of the law (Stop laughing at the back!):
Imam Chishti said that part of the problem was that some madrassa teachers were ignorant of British law. Corporal punishment was banned in state schools in 1986 and in all schools in 1998. Under current law teachers acting in loco parentis may use only “reasonable punishment” such as a smack, providing it does not cause any marks or bruising.Ignorance of the law is no excuse, isn’t it? At least, I always thought so….
The magnitude of the problem in Rochdale has led primary school head teachers to break the silence surrounding the problem. Several disclosed that they had asked social services to investigate complaints of physical abuse in madrassas made by pupils but that the victims' parents refused to press charges against the perpetrators either because they felt that physical abuse was normal practice or they feared being ostracised by their community.And of course, because the parents didn’t want to speak out, or press charges, the social services said ‘Oh, ok then. Sorry to have bothered you…’ and went on their merry way? Have I got that right?
Oh, wait. It seems they are doing something about it after all. They are ‘consulting with the community’:
The Times has also learnt that Rochdale police and social services have met local Muslim leaders six times this year to discuss child protection issues after investigations prompted by claims of physical abuse at madrassas.Excuses, excuses….
Terry Piggott, the executive director of Rochdale Borough Council, admitted that it was difficult for the authorities to take action.
“Because of the rapid turnover of volunteer teachers at madrassas - and the fact that many are part-time - it makes it difficult to regulate and monitor the people who are working with local young people,” he said in a statement.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families said: “We're crystal clear that all organisations, including faith-based, must abide by children protection and safeguarding laws.They are doing just that. But the authorities are wringing their hands, whining about how ‘hard it is’, or ‘how sensitive it is’, and basically doing little except consulting with ‘community leaders’ and pleading with them to behave like human beings in future.
“Any actions that go beyond reasonable punishment are absolutely unacceptable and must be dealt with the courts. We urge anyone who is aware of such incidents to report them to the police and relevant authorities.”
Anyone think they’d be doing the same if this was happening in any other type of school?
Nope, me neither…