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.
When the teacher refused to apologise, Hiba's aunt, Jamila, insisted that her niece should be moved to another madrassa. “I have absolutely no respect for religious teachers who behave like this,” she said.
Another girl described how, at the age of 12, she was hit by her madrassa teacher whenever she mispronounced a word or forgot a verse of the Koran.
When Imam Chishti, a religious education teacher who also runs the Light of Islam Academy in Rochdale, decided to carry out his own investigation into the problem he was shocked by how even the victims had grown to accept the abuse. “They all joked about it,” he said. “There's a culture that accepts it.”
And it is not just the children who have come to accept the abuse. The parents seem ot have been "taught" Islam the same way as they seem to regard this as normal:
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.
Tina Wheatley, deputy head of Heybrook Primary School, said: “If a child comes in with an injury of any sort and it's non-accidental, then schools will refer it to parents, then also to child protection.”
But she said that social workers were often faced by parents who refused to take action against the abusers. “When child protection turns up at the parents' [home], parents don't want to take it any further. There are a lot of head teachers in this area who have spoken to the authorities. It's so sensitive,” she said.
Sandra Hartley, head teacher at Brimrod County Primary School in Rochdale, where 93 per cent of pupils are Muslim, said that she feared that some Muslim parents regarded physical beatings as normal because they had been subjected to the same treatment when they were children.
Read it all here.
Hat Tip to Little Green Footballs