Child sexual abuse continues to run rampant in Pakistan. While such cases against females often make headlines, we overlook how boys are just as susceptible to the crime. The latest instance of a child predator being exposed involves a Molvi at a Karachi madrassah.
Rape cases prevailing in the madrasas of Pakistan are not something new. For the first time, the students of a Karachi madrassah spoke out against child sexual abuse in their institute.
Parhlo reports that a Muslim cleric was caught abusing a minor boy in a local madrasa in Karachi. Although he was caught molesting one minor boy, he had several victims in the religious seminary. The cleric even shamelessly confessed to having committed the crime.
This irked locals and they took matters into their own hands and thrashed the religious teacher. Clips of the locals beating up the Molvi went viral on social media. Hence how the incident landed in the national spotlight.
When one of the victims was asked for a statement on how the abuse took place, the boy said;
“Gandi harkatein kartay hain. [He would do vile things with us]”
Child Sexual Abuse in Madrassahs
Harassment, child sexual abuse, and even torture go unchecked in madrassahs, making them an open playing field for child predators. Child predators in seminaries destroy the lives of innocent children seeking religious education.
It is horrible to note that people who teach the sacred text of the Holy Quran can commit these horrific acts.
Madrasas are the only means of education available for the most neglected factions of society. According to the official statistics, there are around 32,000 madrasas attended by at least 2.5 million students in Pakistan. This only accounts for registered madrassahs.
Although Pakistan’s education ministry has taken measures to introduce a uniform modernized curriculum for all, will this change the culture within madrassahs?
Education may provide knowledge but is a child’s awareness that child sexual abuse is a crime enough to stop child predators? While the ‘Life Skills Based Education’ (LSBE) curriculum has been of more help, a cultural shift is required for the safety of children.
Until then such predators will continue to openly live in society. Capital punishment won’t be much of a deterrent either, as research shows pedophiles’ brains operate in such a way that they have no regard for consequences.
Therefore a culture of calling out such crime and putting these people away must be established.