Islam legalizes many crimes in the name of God. If there is any ‘beauty’ in Islam, here it is. In fact this is the main reason; many condemned criminals (who otherwise are considered a burden on any civilized society) today are being attracted towards this ‘wonderful’ religion. There are many incidents where the keepers of Islam have shown merciless and cruel treatment towards children – using child suicide bombers of Palestine, training camel jockeys in Middle East and establishing Islamic schools all over the world.
The following is part of the bitter experience of a 12 years old Madrasah student from Kenya who was rescued during January 2003.
"It was a terrible place, they chain both legs and both arms, sometimes hands and feet together, They beat us at lunch time, dinner time and grab both legs and hands and give us lashes on the buttocks. We sleep in chains, eat in chains, and go to the toilets in chains. Sometimes we are hooked on the roof in chains and left hanging. We have to memorize the Koran and get punished if we cannot recite the Koran in the classroom".
This is the ‘legal punishment’ for a student who cannot memorize the Koran in the Arabic language. Like wife-beating; child-beating is also religiously allowed in Islam. Though the prophet of Islam was an illiterate village idiot and child rapist, he gave some ‘valuable’ opinion on children’s upbringing and education.
According to Sunan Abu Dawud Book 2, Number 0495, Narrated Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'As:
The Apostle of Allah (peace_be_upon_him) said: Command your children to pray when they become seven years old, and beat them for it (prayer) when they become ten years old; and arrange their beds (to sleep) separately.
"A man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby” (Paz, 2006). Like prophet, like follower. Anyway that is a different story.
Child torture incidents in Madrasahs are reported mostly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sudan. The first two countries are safe havens for Islamic radicals, as well as having a low economy. Bangladesh is in a much better position than those countries. There are many Muslim nations where very little state-funded education is available and the Saudi-funded Islamic schools are only means of education available. With the curriculum dominated by the Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, often these Madrasahs – particularly in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have produced exactly the same type of Jihadis (Atwan, 2006).
In most of the Madrasahs of Pakistan, the only subject taught is the Koran, and that also in Arabic, which is a foreign language and unknown to the students. By end of 2005, there were about thirty-nine thousand registered Madrasahs in Pakistan, whereas during 1978, this number was three thousand only (O'Rourke, 2005). The number of students are estimated somewhere between eight hundred thousand to one million (Dalrymple, 2005). They are often run by religious organizations and lure young children mainly from poor families by providing free food and lodging. Some of the schools even provide intensive political and armed training. Recent estimates suggest that between 10 and 15 percent of Pakistan’s 46,700 Madrasahs (including both registered and unregistered) promote violence openly (Davis, 2002). In Taliban schools of Afghanistan, often the first word children learn to spell is “jihad”, which means “God’s path to paradise”. There are at least six specialized Madrasahs in Pakistan which regularly supply suicide bombers to the Taliban. (Al Qaeda Training Manual, 2001). During their heyday, the Taliban had banned watching television, going to school, and learning modern sciences. Even the learning of history, geography, and mathematics was totally banned and the only activities permissible were the recitation and the memorization of the Koran. Learning English was a huge crime (Sohail, 2007). Many Taliban controlled Madrasahs are sponsored from the outset by Pakistani ISI (Atwan, 2006). In Pakistan and Afghanistan, still there are some orthodox Madrassh teachers, who teaches that earth is flat and stationary and sun rotates around the earth.
In addition to the promotion of violence against non-Muslims, often there are Madrasahs which promote sectarian violence (e.g, between Shia – Sunni etc). Several anti-Shia militias such as the Sipah-i Sahaba (army of Prophet’s companion) and Lashkar–i Jhangvi (Jhangvi’s army) hailed from the extremist Deobandi Madrasahs, and maintained close ties with other terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, Kashmir and elsewhere (Nasr, 2006). The results, we are seeing everyday in Iraq, where not a single day passes without sectarian violence and killing.
During 1994, the Human Rights commission of Pakistan investigated child abuse incidents and the result of the investigation showed that in many Madrasahs, the children are often locked in iron chains, to a heavy wooden block, in groups of four or five. When one of them needs to go to toilet, the rest all need to follow him. Several children were found to have been continuously chained for up to one year. This prevents them from escaping from school, to avoid the burden of memorizing the Koran in Arabic.
During March 1996, police raided a Madrasah near Multan and rescued 64 such victims (Anon, 2004). They were held in strong ropes and chains. The religious head teacher of the Madrasah said that the students had fallen into bad habits of watching satellite television.(!) In orthodox Islamic society, watching television is a big religious taboo. The head teacher also said that, sometimes even the parents of the children instructed the teachers to chain their children. These incidents not only leave scars on their hands and feet but also in their soft minds.
In another incident in Pakistan, during September 1997, a 14 year old student, Muhammad Azam Dogar, somehow managed to escape from the Madrasah torture chamber with iron fetters still on his legs. It was not easy for him to remove the heavy iron fetters. In a desperate effort to remove them, he decided to put them on a rail track. Though he was successful to escape from the Islamic religious jail, he lost his life and was crushed to death under the on-coming train (Children in the Community and family, 2005).
The Pakistani government is aware of this kinds of heinous crimes against children. But there is hardly any effort on their part to stop this barbarism in the name of education. There are laws, which prohibit violence against children in the society. But when such crimes are committed in the name of religion, the law remains within the book only. The political parties do not want to spoil their relationship with the religious organizations that run such schools. Sometimes the influential religious parties even threaten retaliation if there is official probing and if they are closely controlled. The political force of this Madrasah system cannot be underestimated. Hence there are many cases of beating, chaining and other types of torture, which remain unknown to the outside civilized world. Even when the abuses become widely known, the authorities still appear unwilling to take significant action to protect the innocent children.
The children in Sudan are in even worse situation. There, the students are forced to drink the water, which is left from washing the dirty chalkboards (Anon, 2005) where Koranic verses are written. Students are convinced that, the holy wash-water will help them to memorize the Koran! A great way of memorizing the Koran, indeed! Can anybody imagine, all these things happening in the 21st century?
The deeply-rooted superstition within the minds of Islamic teachers will take another thousand years to change. The only requirement of a student for the purpose of passing out from the school successfully, is to be able to memorize the entire Koran. Many students take as long as nine years, whereas many others cannot complete the course and never pass out even after chaining and drinking wash-water.
Child abuse in Islamic schools is nothing new. It is traditional, but hardly few of these incidents come into the limelight. The Madrasah is a place for brainwashing young minds, just to destroy all the future possibilities of the child to do something creative, and to turn him instead into a Koranic zombie. All the humanities are nipped in the bud. Countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and some Muslim majority parts of India, these schools are just mushrooming. They target children of poor Muslim families. Sometimes the families of the children are paid handsomely for sending their children to these schools.
Then, there are several cases of sexual abuse against children in Madrasas. Many of these teachers are hardcore paedophiles and homosexuals. Their only purpose in opening a Madrasah, is not spreading Islamic education but to lure children from poor families for sexual pleasure, by providing them with free food and lodging. There are reported incidents, where students are forced to engage in oral and anal sex regularly with their teachers. Though many helpless students succumb to such meanness, but occasionally, when a student is daring enough to reject giving such inhuman pleasure, the consequences are severe.
One horrible incident was reported on 11th December, 2004 in The Daily Times of Lahore. A 14-year-old Madrasah student, Abid Tanoli, had acid thrown on his face by his Madrasah teacher. This poor fellow lost both his eyes with more than 50 % burns on his face.The left side of his face was horribly disfigured. This incident took place on 1st July 2002 in Karachi (Petit, 2004). His fault was that he rejected the sexual demands from his Madrasah teacher. The Daily Times also reported that, during the year 2004, there were a total of 500 complaints of child sex abuse in Pakistani Madrasahs, but there was hardly any successful prosecution (Khawaja, 2004). Presently, the teacher (who cannot be named for legal reasons), and two of his accomplices are in prison awaiting trial for attempted murder and rape. All three denied the charges. The fourth culprit is still absconding. These incidents are increasing in number every year.
Haroon Tanoli, the father of Abid, was threatened with harsh consequences when he tried to take up his son's case with officials at the school. The school authorities initially tried to hush up the matter by offering him a cash payment of one million Pakistani rupees (£11,300), but Haroon refused to back down and took up the matter with the police (Ansari, 2004).
Haroon said to the journalist, “I despise hypocrites who sport huge beards in the name of religion and hinder the passage of justice in the name of Islam … I had a beard, and all my four sons were studying in a madrasa. However, following this incident, the first thing I did was to pull my children out of the madrasa - and shave off my beard" (Ansari, 2004).
Zia Ahmed Awan, the president of ‘Madadgaar’, a joint project of LHRLA (Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid) and UNICEF, the United Nations children's fund, said, "They [the sex scandal] are either hushed up and sorted out within the confines of school, or parents are pressurised not to report the incident to the media as it would give religion a bad name," (Khawaja, 2004).
There were 500 complaints this year of abuse allegedly committed by clerics, Aamer Liaquat Hussain, a minister in the religious affairs department, said. That compares with 2,000 last year, but as yet there have been no successful prosecutions, Mr Hussain told the BBC.
Now these types of nasty incidents are being reported in United Kingdom also. In UK, there are about 1000 such Islamic schools. As many as 40% of teachers in these UK schools hit or scold children, and between 15 and 20 cases of sexual abuse occur each year (Siddiqui, 2006; Anon, 2006). Because of the fear of child abuse, many UK parents prefer home tuition instead of sending their children to Madrasahs.
One enlightened ex-Muslim lady wrote in FFI:
“My experience of Madrasahs was like any other glorifying Muhammad, chanting things we didn't understand all day long and showing absolute disrespect to Christians and the other animists. It was the thing to do”.( Rasheeda, 2004 )
After so much torture, chaining, beating and wash-water drinking; the market value of these students is rather limited, in today’s tough professional competition. With a total lack of modern education and knowledge of the latest technology, these Madrasah students are not at all useful to any modern day employer. They remain fit for doing manual labourer jobs like sweepingand garbage removing, where no education is necessary. Sometimes they are employed in the religious sectors as prayer leaders and so-called Islamic scholars or Madrasah teachers. In fact I am not exaggerating if I say that they are even unfit for conducting sophisticated terrorist operations – their uselessness is so perfect. The only jobs they are fit for in a terrorist organization, is a suicide mission, killing and torturing non-Muslims and blindly follow the instructions of their leaders.
The irony of the situation is that many students outside the Arab worlde, do not even know what is written in the Koran. They just recite the Koran in Arabic, but they do not understand the contents. They don’t even know what they have studied even after pursuing it for several years. Is not it bizarre?
So, all the effort to pass out from schools remains useless for all practical purposes in today’s world. They cannot blend into an advanced western nation. They are total failures in sophisticated operations, where even basic minimum technical expertise is required. Some of them even lack basic mathematical skills (Fair & Haqqani, 2005). They are blissfully ignorant of the various developments and wallow in a state of nostalgia about the glorious feudal past of militant Islam. History, if taught at all, would be Islamic history and not modern history or world history. Some students may acquire good proficiency in Urdu and Arabic languages at best, but without any other knowledge, they find themselves quite ill-equipped to transact business in present day society (Shourie, 2004).
What stuns the educated people is that they do not blame themselves or their educational-background for their misery; they just put the blame on western world. “Afghans suffer poverty because of America’s disproportionate wealth” – this is what Madrasah teachers say in Afghanistan.
This is the bottom line of Madrasah education. The basic essentials of a successful education system are never fulfilled. Education involves transference of knowledge and values accumulated by mankind from one person to another. Humanity is inseparable from education. The best process of education encourages students to ask questions, which propel them on the path of further learning. Without this, education becomes a burden. Scientific enquiry also enriches mankind with knowledge. Education improves the reasoning power of a person. Neither memorization of a book nor physical punishment helps the students. Students learn not only through reading, but also by experience, by watching others and also by observing the world in general. Unfortunately, Madrasah education lacks all of the above. True education is an important area to advance civilization further. If it is left in the hands of some semi-literates, sadists, paedophiles and homosexuals, neither education, nor civilisation occurs.
Books, Thesis, Journals and Newspapers
1. Lindsey A. O'Rourke, (2005) - A Sociobiological View of Palestinian Suicide Bombers, (Undergraduate Philosophy Thesis) The Ohio State University; submitted on 7th March, 2005.
2. Atwan A. B (2006), The Secret History of Al-Qa’ida, pp 74, 152. Second edition. Clays Ltd, GB.
3. Nasr V. (2006), The Shia Revival – How conflicts within Islam will shape the future, Chapter – 5, pp 165. First Edition, Norton, London.
4. Davis C (2002) - “A” Is for Allah, “J” Is for Jihad; World Policy Journal, Spring 2002 issue.
5. Shourie, Arun (2004), India under threat, Part-III, The ticking bomb inside mosque and Madrasa , The Indian Express (daily newspaper) of dated 17th December, 2004.
1. Al Qaeda Training Manual (2001), U.S. Department of Justice, online release 7th December 2001; URL:
2. Anderson Paul (2004), Madrasas hit by sex abuse claims, BBC News, Islamabad, 2004. URL: http://www.asiansinmedia.org/news/article.php/current_affairs/1271
3. Anonymous (2006) - Breaking the Chains of Islam, Children in Chains... URL:
4. Anonymous (2006), Muslim group calls for madrasa regulation. URL:
5. Ansari Massoud (2004), Acid attack on boy who refused sex with Muslim cleric, Karachi. URL :
6. Children in the Community and family (2005), Amnesty International (AI) Publications, London. URL :
7. Dalrymple William (2005); Inside Islam's "terror Schools"?, Times of Pakistan.URL:
8. Fair C.C & Haqqani H (2005); Think Again: Islamist Terrorism “Madrasas Are Terrorist Factories” pp-2 , URL :
9. Khawaja Irfan (2004) - Sex and the Madrasa, URL:
10. Paz (2006), Khomeini's Teachings on sex with infants and animals. URL:
11. Petit Juan Migual (2004) – Rights of the child. URL:
12. Rasheeda (2004) - Why I Became an Apostate. Published at FFI in Leaving Islam section on 07/01/2004, URL :
13. Siddiqui Ghayasuddin (2006), Child Breaking the Taboo of Child Abuse, Protection in Faith-Based Environments, A Guideline Report, sponsored by The Muslim Institute Trust, Bait al-Mal al-Islami, March 2006. URL:
14. Sohail (2007), Reminiscing the Nights and Days of Talibans—the True Islam in An Afaghan's eye-witness account of Taliban, Part - 1(an e-mail exchange with Abul Kasem, published at FFI on 25th June / 2007). URL: