Muslim Parliament logo
Muslim Parliament
The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain
Links Links go to homepage

In the media

Islamic schools in denial about child abuse

The Voice
Published: 28 March 2006
Issue: 1211

More than 100,000 children are at risk of abuse in the UK’s Islamic seminaries, according to a report published last week

The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain says that children in around 700 unregulated Islamic religious schools (or madrassas) are at risk.

Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament, said: “Sweeping the issue of child abuse in UK madrassas under the carpet is not a solution.


“If nothing is done now we may face an avalanche of child sex-abuse scandals, decades afterwards, similar to those that rocked the Roman Catholic church in the 1990s.

“To protect the integrity of these institutions it is important that all madrassas put in place transparent and accountable polices and procedures,” he said.

In the report, the Muslim Parliament urges the government to establish a national registration scheme for madrassas, co-ordinated centrally and monitored by local authorities, to meet their legal obligations under The Children Act 1989.

In the introduction to the report, Dr Siddiqui writes: “The Muslim community is at present in a state of denial – denial of the fact that child abuse takes place in places of worship including in mosques, madrassas (mosque schools) and families. It is a taboo subject.

“When such a crime is committed, the victim knows no one to turn to and the abusers are answerable to no one.

“This protects the abuser and ostracises the victim. The victims of child abuse on growing up often become abusers themselves, taking their revenge on others. Taboo perpetuates the situation.”

Other Muslim groups have welcomed the Muslim Parliament’s report. Shaaz Mehboob, of Progressive British Muslims, said: “We are pleased that leaders in the Muslim community are taking the issue of potential abuse of children at madrassas seriously.


“The madrassas have, until now, largely been immune to the child protection laws primarily due to the lack of intervention by the government, which seems to fear that it would be seen to be interfering with religious matters.

“We believe that the community and local authorities should work together to ensure the safety of children at Islamic religious institutions".

The NSPCC (the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) has also spoken out in favour of regulation of madrassas.

A spokesperson said: “The NSPCC would like to see faith groups involved in the new Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCBs) arrangements in order to develop a broad-ranging, multi-agency approach.

“We are calling on the government to ensure support for faith-based communities. We urge it to include comprehensive advice in its revised Working Together document.

They also echoed the Muslim Parliament’s call for a national register of UK madrassas.

Labour MP Anne Cryer, whose constituency of Keighley has a large percentage of Muslim children, welcomed the report.

“This is a very important report. I warmly welcome it and would like to commend the Muslim Parliament for its bravery for having the courage to tackle this issue.

“I have had reports of physical abuse in madrassas in my own constituency. It is a child protection and criminal matter. It must stop.

“Madrassas are no different to any other organisation that works with children – CRB [Criminal Records Bureau] checks and child protection procedures must be in place.

“Failing to protect the children in madrassas because of “cultural sensitivities" is nonsense.

“Are we saying that British Asian children are not entitled to the protection of the law? It is racist to differentiate between children and to fail to offer that protection.”

The Voice website





Media archive

Shariah Queries Pose Challenge

Gaza and the radicalisation of British Muslims

Law to protect the young must cover madrassas as well

This is no way to fight terror

A marriage of convenience will not do

Frustrated love and forced marriage

Changing the face of Muslim family life

New model Muslim marriage contract ‘revolutionary’ for UK women

British women who paid dearly for not registering their marriages

New Sharia law marriage contract gives Muslim women rights

Is this the beginning of a new European Islam?

Compulsory lessons urged on forced marriage and 'honour' violence

Law and principle are lost in the crazy politics of 42 days

A shaming victory - Brown 42 days

Islam's holiest city set for 130-skyscraper redevelopment

No more mosques, says senior Synod member

Muslim reformer's 'heresy': The Islamic state is a dead end

Intellectuals condemn fatwa against writers

Met 'let down' victim killed by her family

Divisions In Our World Are Not The Result Of Religion

Home secretary accused of putting off vote on terrorism bill

Muslim leader says families must help catch honour killers

Blasphemy caused by cuddly animals

Mistake to curb liberties in response to 7/7, says minister

Asim Siddiqui: Beyond Hizb ut-Tahrir

Naomi Klein: Why failure is the new face of success

Naomi Klein: The erasing of Iraq

Naomi Klein: The age of disaster capitalism

Special units to crack down on honour killing

Can Culture Be Bought In the Gulf?

Luxury timeshares on offer at Islam's holiest pilgrimage site

The shortest route to peace… is through Jerusalem

Pope and Islam - Muhammad's Sword

Pope and Islam -
Roots of rationality

Removal of men from holiday flight condemned

How Islam got political: Founding fathers

MPs fear police terror raid will hit community relations

Muslims question terror raid tactics

A pantomime in Forest Gate

Sudan’s Turabi - Muslim women can marry Christian or Jew

Faith leaders unite to champion supportive care for terminally ill

Warning on Muslim schools 'abuse'

Government urged to introduce registration scheme for religious Islamic schools

Call for national register of mosque schools

A call to protect Madrasa-goers from abuse

Abuse widespread in Islamic schools, says Muslim leader

Madrassa children ‘at risk of abuse’

Islamic schools in denial about child abuse

Muslim rally organisers tell extremists to stay away

Calls to scrap holocaust day slammed

The destruction of Mecca: Saudi hardliners are wiping out their own heritage

Britain to rebrand ethnic minorities

Live chat with the leader of the Muslim Parliament in Britain

Religious leaders braced for more faith-hate attacks

Police investigate 'backlash' attacks

Fanatics realise worst fears of Muslims

Muslims, do not be fooled by this law

Prisoners freed a year ago struggle to rebuild their lives

Muslim leaders consult other faiths for advice on stamping out abuse

Could the tsunami disaster be a turning point for the world?

Muslim men use law loophole to get a harem of ‘wives’

Novice imams must be vetted, Muslim leaders say

End these detentions

Muslim leaders blame Blair’s war on Iraq for growing alienation

End this internment now

Under siege on all sides, Muslims plead for peace

Islamic weddings leave women unprotected

Muslim leaders attack extremists' claims

Talking Point Forum interview with Dr Siddiqui

Focus on forced Asian marriages

British High Court judge condemns forced Asian marriages

Islam and the voice of reason

Passionate debate on a landmark in race relations

Leave us Muslims out of the anti-terror laws