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Press release

Muslim body calls for national register of UK Madrasas to strengthen child protection

The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain will urge the Government to establish a national registration scheme for Madrasas, coordinated centrally and monitored by local authorities, to meet their legal obligations under The Children Act 1989.

At a meeting in central London today (Wednesday 22nd March 2006), Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament will launch a report highlighting the absence of a nationally implemented child protection strategy exposes some 100,000 Muslim children to significant risk of harm. The report also highlights the existence of child abuse in Madrasas, and presents an action plan that has the support of Anne Cryer MP, Member of Parliament for Keighley.

Dr Siddiqui will say:

"Sweeping the issue of child abuse in UK Madrasas 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 valued institutions it is important that all Madrases put in place transparent and accountable polices and procedures."

Anne Cryer MP will say:

"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 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.”


Notes to Editors:

The meeting will be held at 6.45pm on Wednesday 22nd March 2006, at The City Circle, Main Hall (Ground Floor), 45 Crawford Place, London W1H 4LP. The City Circle is a network organisation of Muslim professionals who volunteer their experience into community-based projects.

Other speakers will include: Firdusi Begum Uddin, a Religious Education teacher at a inner-London mixed secondary school; Simon Moules, Child Protection officer in the Diocese of Brentwood; and Councillor Lal Hussain MBE, Former Mayor of Sutton & Secretary of the Muslim Community Centre, Carlshalton, Surrey.

All media welcomed. For more information, copies of the report, or to arrange an interview please contact: Asma Zaman, Project Director, The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain – 020 8563 1995/ 07877 588 396




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