Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Sexual Abuse Of Religious Students In Madrassas (Religious Schools)

PREFACE(Novel: Revenge)

This word madrassa (religious school) brings a very sacred image to the minds of the native community of Pakistan where people send their children to learn about the religion and they believe that it will help their children in becoming a good human being but unfortunately reality is much cruel and harsh than this soft image.
These madrassas are playing their role in spreading everything else other than the religious education. Its taboo subject if one talks about the negativities associated with the madrassas. But one has to raise a voice.
Let’s see a few accounts of sexual abuse as narrated in the report of Express tribune by Mavra Bari on 27 Feb 2012 published in Express Tribune.
..……According to Sahil’s annual report, there were 18 cases registered against clerics in 2010 and 26 in 2011. There is unfortunately no way to know the true ‘dark figure’ of child molestation, which would be shockingly higher.
Sahil Programme Officer Aqdas Fatima said that every year there is increasing analytical evidence that both girls and boys are at equal risks of molestation and fall victim to it. In fact, boys are more shy about admitting to have been molested that decreases the number of known cases. The following cases aim to shed light on such statistics.
Asia, 53, a resident of Gawalmandi area in Lahore shared an instance of sexual molestation by her religious teacher from the age of 7 to 10 years. “Me, my two sisters, brother and cousin used to all learn from the same ‘maulvi saab’. He would come to our house for the lesson twice a week. Whenever one of the girl’s would make a mistake or not be paying full attention, he would snap our skin at our thighs and other inappropriate places. If my brother would make similar mistakes he would slap him.”
When asked why they let the abuse go on for three years, she elaborated, “Back then you couldn’t tell your parents such things; they would automatically think you were in the wrong, as Quran instructors are thought of as pious. It was only when we moved from Lahore to Islamabad that the lessons stopped so the abuse stopped”.
Asia further stated the effects that this experience has had on her, saying, “I have two sons and a daughter, and have taught them the Quran myself. I also routinely ask them if they feel offended in any way by any one, because I have learnt no one is above taking advantage of children. At the end of the day, I don’t think about those experiences as much anymore but when I was younger I had psychological problems associating the Quran with a feeling of shame and powerlessness”.
The Express Tribune tried to reach Asia’s brother for his interpretation of these events, but he was not available for comment. Pursuant to popular belief, young boys are as much at risk for sexual molestation as they are confronted with a greater number of potentially dangerous situations. Jahangir*, 31, narrates his traumatic story of molestation, saying, “when I was around 8, I used to go to maulvi saab’s house with some of the other boys in my neighborhood. We would usually all stick together but sometimes he would take us out individually for snacks after and bribe and shame us into letting him touch me.”
He further comments, “I initially thought I was the only one but then we started discussing it among ourselves, and told our parents about what he was doing”.
Kalsoom, 27, has an even more harrowing story, as her Quran instructor was also her first cousin. She narrates, “Before our Quran lessons, some of my female cousins and I had been sexually abused by him. When I learnt that I was soon to have lessons on a regular basis with him, I was horrified.”
She further states, “I became obsessive-compulsive about learning the Quran, I wanted to learn as much of it as I could on my own so the lessons would stop. I thought of telling my parents but he had made me believe that I would be held accountable, and it would tear the family apart if I said anything.”…………
In the same way Mr. Fasihuddin (PSP) Deputy Commandant, Frontier Reserve Police (FRP) N.W.F.P, Peshawar (Pakistan) Read his research thesis in Annual Meeting 2006 held at Los Angeles, California arranged by American Society Of Criminology and he mentioned the following table of Sahil(NGO) In his thesis about child abuse:

Cruel Number Study-The Bitter Reality

Total Cases Recorded
Male/Female Ratio
373: 1194 (24%: 76%)
422: 1297 (25%: 75%)
Chile Sexual Abuse Rate Per Day
3 Cases
5 Cases (Excluding Abduction)
Total No. of Abuser
Largest Abuser Category
Acquaintance: 1961 (68%)
Acquaintance: 1336 (67%)
Single/Multiple Assault Ratio
1426(91%): 141 (8%)
1719 (90%):171 (9%)
Time Period of Abuse
1 Day-06 Months
1 Day-06 Month
Rural/Urban Ratio
1149 (73%): 418 (27%)
1092(64%): 627 (36%)
Most Unsafe Place
Acquaintance’s Place: 514 Cases (33%)
Acquaintance’s/Abuser’s Place: 1719 Cases (24%)
Most Vulnerable Age Group
11-15 yr (35% Male+65% Female)
11-15 year (35%) Male + 65% Female)

Source: Sahil Statistics, Cruel Number Study, 2004-2005

Above said are the real incidents happened with real innocent children and these are about sexual abuse only but madrassas are not limited to only child abuse but now a days they are the training centers for terrorists. They are hate generators for various sects of Muslims community. They are brain washing the innocents and converting the children into devils while they were assigned just the opposite duty.
The novel in your hand is also an amazing account of fiction of a child sexually abused by his Religious teacher. How it rooted the hatred in his heart and how he held it there to grow it manifold until he became powerful enough to take “Revenge.”
Qari Nazakat Hussain Shah, the head teacher of the madrassa has been portrayed exactly like reality in this novel. He has been ironically symbolized as spiritual healer who manipulated so many women in the name of religion. This character also criticizes the Muslims who have faith in such ‘peers’ more than ‘God’. The novel also exposes how alcohol and sex arousing drugs are used in the masjid.
Qari Sabu Shah, the main culprit has been created masterfully who plays with the innocent children along with his colleagues Qari Golden Chance and Qari Chummi (the titles have been taken from real madrassas). The devilish games of the teachers and the principal have been revealed in a very imaginative way.
The suicide of a young girl who had been brutally raped by Qari Nazakt and the other teachers also hints towards the real life incidents.
This novel has lessened the pain in my heart a little bit as I suggested to Waheed that he should write on this subject also and he has done his job marvelously. He has very creatively exposed the cruel faces of the So-called religious teachers. I think he has played his role in pointing out the magnitude of problem through his magical writing and now it’s time to play ours. Who so ever reads this novel if aware of any incident happening in his or her surrounding kindly expose them all it’s not virtue but a duty which we all share.
I hope you will enjoy it and share the feelings we have in our hearts for the little innocent flower like children who are victim and still unheard.

Asad Mahmud

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