By Colin Freeman
Like many younger pupils at Karachi’s Jamia Binoria madrassa, 12-year-old Imran Mohammed is a shy, quietly spoken child who is all but tongue-tied in front of his elders. One thing can get him talking though â€“ for hours if need be.
“God is one and he is our creator,” he intones, his faltering voice suddenly breaking into fluent Arabic. “He has not given birth of anyone, nor did anyone give birth of him.”
It is a verse from the Koran, a tiny part of four entire chapters he has learnt by heart since arriving at the madrassa, or religious school, two years ago. Four chapters is roughly 60 pages, and to recite it fully â€“ as he can do â€“ takes up to two hours.
However, when it comes to non-religious learning, such as the alphabet or multiplication tables, Mohammed is somewhat behind for his age. Asked to add 10 and 11 together, he uses his fingers to reach the right answer, and the only words he can write are his own name and his father’s.
For much of the past two decades, though, this has been what passes as education for hundreds of thousands of young Pakistanis. With secular, state schools all but non existent in much of the country â€“ six million children never see a classroom â€“ growing numbers of parents “opt out” their children for religious education instead.
“Students chained at an Islamic school in Bangladesh”
* many older students are known have to sexual relationships with young boys, and everybody knows that they “keep” boys. One of the boys complained of sexual abuse against a teacher but his parents refused to believe him and returned him to the religious school. He was given in charge of the same teacher who then repeatedly abused him. The boy is now under another teacher but he now talks profusely about sex with fellow students. He takes younger children to his room and some of his colleagues to video shops.
* It’s OK. I’m sure they all dress as monks and nuns for Christmas.
A SCHOOL was yesterday accused of MAKING teachers dress up as Asians for a day â€“ to celebrate a Muslim festival.
* Dressing up as ‘Asians’ is pc-speak for Muslim-Mummenschantz
Kids at the 257-pupil primary have also been told to don ethnic garb even though most are Christians.
The morning assembly will be open to all parents â€“ but dads are BARRED from a women-only party in the afternoon because Muslim husbands object to wives mixing with other men.
Just two members of staff â€“ a part-time teacher and a teaching assistant â€“ are Muslim.
Yesterday a relative of one of the 39 others said: “Staff have got to go along with it â€“ or let’s face it, they would be branded racist.
* Here we go again: wrap a towel ’round your head and you turn into another race. Refuse and you become a ‘racist’- this is the age of stupid…!
“Who would put their job on the line? They have been told they have to embrace the day to show their diversity. But they are not all happy.”
The day aims to belatedly mark Eid, the end of Ramadan.
Sally Bloomer, head of Rufford primary school in Lye, West Midlands, insisted: “I have not heard of any complaints.
“It’s all part of a diversity project to promote multi-culturalism.”
* You bet it is. Until one particular cult-(ure) is established. And after that there will be no more ‘diversity’-
I suspect Ms. Bloomer may be hearing a complaint or two soon.
* From the ‘I’m too sexy for my kaftan’ department
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia â€” Malaysia’s Muslim men are suffering sleepless nights and cannot pray properly because their thoughts are distracted by a growing number of women who wear sexy clothes in public, a prominent cleric said.
Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, said he wanted to speak about the “emotional abuse” that men face because it is seldom discussed, the party reported on its Web site Wednesday.
“We always [hear about] the abuse of children and wives in households, which is easily perceived by the eye, but the emotional abuse of men cannot be seen,” Nik Abdul Aziz said. “Our prayers become unfocused and our sleep is often disturbed.”
Nik Abdul Aziz has made controversial comments about women in the past, including that women should stop wearing lipstick and perfume to lower the risk of being raped. Women’s groups have slammed his statements, saying Islam teaches both men and women to be responsible for modesty. They say comments like these encourage rapes because it puts the onus on women.
Nik Abdul Aziz’s fundamentalist party has about 800,000 members. He is also the chief minister of northeastern Kelantan, the only one of Malaysia’s 13 states that is not ruled by the moderate National Front governing coalition.
His party’s Web site published an illustration Wednesday of how women should dress â€” in long, flowing headscarves covering their hair and chests and “baggy and loose” long-sleeved, floor-length dresses.
Most women from Malaysia’s Malay Muslim majority wear a modest form of Islamic clothing, though younger women in cities sometimes wear body-hugging dresses or tight T-shirts and jeans.
In Kelantan, the Islamic party has fined Muslim women for not wearing headscarves in workplaces and implemented separate check-out lines for men and women in supermarkets.