Amid reports of sexual exploitation of students by teachers in madrasas, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) — the apex body of Islamic Shariah in the country —has decided to take up the issue during its working committee meeting on December 9 at Amroha. The board also plans to issue an advisory to madrasas.
“We are shocked at rising incidents of sexual exploitation in madrasas. We admit that people in madrasas are not farishta (angels) but human beings. They are also prone to social evils. We have to take corrective action immediately,” Kamal Farooqui, member, AIMPLB working committee, told The Indian Express.
The issue came to light after journalist V P Rajeena shared instances of sexual abuse of children in madrasas. Voices came out in her support and even the Indian America Muslim Council, a Muslim group in the United States, called for an internal, independent and transparent assessment of the situation by credible community leaders.
Though the issue is not listed in the agenda of the working committee, Farooqui claimed it will be taken up since several such incidents have been reported over the past few months. “It is not listed in the agenda but there is clause in the agenda where any item which is not listed can be raised. We cannot hide it anymore,” Farooqui said. Currently, Farooqui is camping in Amroha and is engaged in preparations for the AIMPLB meeting.
The AIMPLB is also expected to issue an advisory to madrasas to keep check on such activities. “We cannot permit anything, which is against our religion and the law of the land. Proper do’s and don’ts will be circulated to madrasas,” Farooqui said.
Normally, AIMPLB looks into issues confined to the Shariah but a section of its members are now raising issues, which concern Muslim community outside it as well.
“Obviously how can we say that we are not concerned with anything happening in madrasas. They are our foundation and if such incidents are reported from their premises, it is shocking for all of us… We cannot close our eyes,” said Farooqui.
He claimed that such incidents occur everywhere — in schools, colleges, hostels — but few incidents at madrasas are blown out of proportion.
Soon after Rajeena made a post on Facebook, many others came to fore alleging that they too faced abuse in madrasas. Prominent among them is Malayalam film director Ali Akbar who alleged that he was sexually exploited by an ustad (teacher) after which he stopped going to the madrasa. Akbar’s statement came after Sunni Muslim leader Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musliyar claimed that that Kerala madrasas were free from sexual abuse.