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Thursday, May 23, 2024

A Child Raped, Madrassas, Mullah & Government: Who is Responsible?

The nonchalant government of Pakistan is neglecting the plight of hundreds of children in Madrassas decrying the Mullah's inappropriate "visits". Several organizations have highlighted the figures yet the government somehow fails to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Will children ever be safe in this country?

One can have his feet swept from the floor in utter shock and disquietude when he hears that yet another innocent young soul has been sexually assaulted and molested by none other than the cornerstone of our Islamic society – the Mullah. Anyone who even has a shred of humanity still subsiding within their hearts can have their blood curdle in rage upon hearing that yet another wolf bedecked within the clothing of that “religious” sheep; prayed upon the chastity and piety of yet another child, behind the doors of the most venerable institution in the light of Islam – the Madrassa.

The influence of Madrassas throughout the history of Islam have been etched as gold within the history books. Many revered leaders, scientists, and philosophers were once the product of these institutions during the golden ages of Islam and the teachers in those Madrassas were one of the most respected and hallowed people of their times.

The Madrassa system might be at fault here but in reality these said individuals who are the criminals of such acts are actually the victims – the victims of this society

Fast forward to the present and now we are greeted with sexually depraved, deviant and mentally plagued individuals trying to walk in the shoes of those esteemed legends who will always be remembered with praise and pride. The fault in our religious institutions lies within the psyche of our society when it comes to selecting an individual who should be qualified to be a religious teacher.

Take an example of a class – the most intelligent students turn out to be those highly credible and sought after doctors and engineers, the mediocre students turn into bureaucrats officers and then there are those students who are at the bottom of the pecking order. Those very students who the teachers consider as to be dull, absent-minded and academically very poor are placed into religious institutions to become religious teachers in the future.

This is the sheer irony of our Madrassa system in our country where leading the religious institution is left in the hands of those very psychologically impaired individuals. Last year alone, over 3,800 cases of child sexual abuse were reported across Pakistan, a country of around 218 million people, according to child rights organization, Sahil.

Read more: Religious Scholars Pledge Support to Implement Madrassah Reforms

The most vulnerable groups were identified as boys between the ages of six and 15 years old, and girls who are either infants or between 16 and 18 years old. The demographics for the age group of boys that got molested, frantically scream for themselves because boys between the age of six and fifteen are most likely to be a part of a Madrassa.

This pedophilic disorder is more of mental disease than actually being a heinous foible or a tendency which one can not fix easily. It is dismal and woeful to see that our religion is taught by individuals who need mental help and therapy. The Madrassa system might be at fault here but in reality, these said individuals who are the criminals of such acts are actually the victims – the victims of this society.

Our society is relentless similar to a game of Russian roulette – risky, endearing and life-wrecking. The very framework of our society exists and subsides on Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest and this is henceforth highlighted by the selection of our mentally weak Mullahs.

Incidents like these are what question our humanity and our integrity of being a considerable Muslim in a country based on the teachings of Islam

Those who are the strongest get the best posts and the perfect jobs but those who are mentally weak from the bunch end up getting discarded as if they were scraps left on the plate. These scraps then end up being used for concocting a recipe of disaster when we find out that once again another innocent child was raped in a Madrassa.

As soon as we tune into a news channel or flip open a newspaper, we are greeted with yet another sexual harassment case and in the midst of all this we find out that our government is just as ignorant on this matter. Its utterly appalling and heart throbbing to see the laid back attitude of our government on such a sensitive matter.

Child sexual abuse is widespread in Pakistani Islamic schools. In a study of child sexual abuse in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, out of a sample of 300 children, 17% claimed to have been abused and in 1997 one child a day was reported as raped, gang-raped or kidnapped for sexual gratification.

Read more: Mainstreaming Madrassas in Pakistan: Imran Khan’s trial by fire

In September 2014, the British Channel 4 broadcast a documentary called Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, directed by Mohammed Naqvi and produced by Jamie Doran, which highlighted the problem of sexual abuse of street children, in particular, an estimated 90 percent of whom have been sexually abused.

This is the current hapless state of our nation and the government is doing nothing but fighting for their own petty issues. Not even for once have we ever seen that a politician or a leader from our country ever take immediate action or a solid step against such vile and heinous acts that make us question our humanity and religion.

This laid back attitude of our politicians floods our minds with all the terrible ‘ifs’ – if we had not been this nonchalant about these incidents; if we had raised our voices when it actually counted if we actually tried to be real Muslim if we had been a bit more human.

Read more: COAS lauds efforts to bring madrassahs in mainstream education system

Incidents like these are what question our humanity and our integrity of being a considerable Muslim in a country based on the teachings of Islam. Therefore it is also advised that our government should also come up with actual strict laws to help stop such horrendous acts in the near future.

Salis Malik is an engineering student and works with various national and international think tanks. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.