Spare the rod and spoil the child, Islamic style

SAUDI ARABIA: A Quran memorization teacher used his stick to lash a five-year-old school boy, causing bruises and scars all over his back and trigger a police hunt for the fleeing man.

Emirates (H/T Martin)  The boy was changing his clothes at home in the western town of Mecca when his parents noticed the lashing marks on his little body. The boy told his father that the Islamic lessons teacher flogged him with the stick on his back during class at a Quran memorization centre in the holy city.

“The father reported the teacher to the police while the boy was taken to hospital…doctors said he needed treatment for five days,” the Arabic language daily Alriyadh said, adding that police are searching for the teacher.

BANGLADESH: Muslim religious school teacher allegedly placed burning hot iron rods on the legs of 14 of her students, ages between 8 and 14, for failing to offer prayers regularly.

BBC (H/T Martin)  The school has been temporarily closed following the incident, while the “hellish experience” of the girls has been widely reported in newspapers.

The Bangladeshi government banned all corporal punishment in all educational institutions, including religious schools – or madrassas – in 2010. “I was shocked to see the burn injury of my daughter,” Jumur Akhter, mother of one of the affected students, told the BBC.

The girls were learning Arabic and Bengali at the Talimul Koran Mahila madrassa at Namashyampur in Dhaka. “It was the first day of the madrassa after our holidays. Our teacher got angry when she heard that we were not offering regular prayers during our vacation,” said Ferdousi Akther, aged eight.

“Then she asked her servant to heat up the rod and then she pressed it on our legs. The pain was unbearable.” Pupils say that the teacher asked the students whether they knew the severity of the fire in hell. They were allegedly told that if they did not offer prayers regularly, they would experience a similar punishment.

PAKISTAN: Cleric tortured and broke the leg of a seven-year-old student for not memorizing his quran lessons properly. Police are reluctant to arrest him.

Faith Freedom  According to residents of Vehari’s Ghara Mor village, a local prayer leader tortured a seven-year-old student for forgetting the words to a surah.

Busti Sheikhan Wali resident Muhammad Mumtaz’s son Muhammad Adnan, 7, was memorizing the Quran at a mosque. On Friday, several of Adnan’s class mates said that he kept forgetting one verse of a surah and cleric Muhammad Latif beat him with a stick. “He then hung the boy upside down from a tree and beat him while screaming at him to recite the verses properly,” said Mansoor Shah, who was also present at the mosque. “We protested to have the child freed but by the time he was taken to a hospital he had fainted from the pain,” he added.

Adnan’s father was informed of the incident and came to the Vehari DHQ hospital, where doctors told him that Adnan’s leg was broken. “The boy has suffered severe bruises and some internal injuries. His left leg has been broken and we cannot re-set the bones,” said Dr Altaf Momin.

Students at the seminary said that Latif had begun kicking Adnan and when he begged for water after being hung by the tree, he was refused. “He was hanging from the tree for over an hour. Every few minutes Latif asked him to recite the verses and when he got them wrong he was beaten,” said a student. “He kept asking for water but he was refused. Later he fainted and some men helped him down and took him to a hospital,” he told Adnan’s father.

“He beat my son to a pulp and I expected this man to teach my son about Islam!” Muhammad Mumtaz said. “The students said he was hitting my son because he had forgotten verses even while he was fasting. Latif was torturing him, what of that?” Mumtaz told reporters.

Mumtaz approached police officials to file a case on his son’s behalf. “We have sought a medical report regarding the boy’s condition. If torture is proven we will arrest Latif,” said a Vehari police official. “How can the police not register a case? My son’s leg is broken, what more proof do they need,” Mumtaz told reporters.

“We have already issued a medical certificate but the police do not want to arrest Latif. They took him in for questioning but released him after an hour,” said Dr Momin. He said that this was the only way the children would learn but that he had not broken Adnan’s leg,” the police official said.

“We have released him until further evidence,” he added.