March 22, 2006

Muslim leaders fear thousands of children are abused at madrassas


By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent
Published: 22 March 2006
Thousands of Muslim schoolchildren are being physically and sexually abused by their religious teachers every year, according to a report into the Islamic education system in this country.

The potential scale of the abuse has led to fears among Muslim leaders that Britain's Mosque-based schools will face the kind of child abuse claims that has recently scandalised the Roman Catholic Church.

Up to 100,000 children are taught at 700 Islamic schools, or madrassas, of which almost a half use unlawful corporal punishment to discipline pupils, says the report into child protection published today by the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain. The authors also warn that each year at least a dozen children are sexually abused by their teachers and Imans with very few cases ever being made public.

Years of unregulated education means that tens of thousands of Muslim pupils now face a significant risk of harm by attending school, says the report.

"Because of the fear of child abuse some parents prefer home tuition instead, a practice said to be flourishing," it adds.

Posted by kshaw at March 22, 2006 04:18 PM