The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain has issued a report urging the government to establish a national registration scheme for religious Islamic schools – known as Madrasas - to meet their legal obligations under The Children Act 1989.
The report – ‘Child Protection in Faith Based Environments’ - published by the Muslim Parliament highlights the absence of a nationally implemented child protection strategy for Madrasas claiming that 100,000 Muslim children are exposed to significant risk of harm.
Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Leader of the Muslim Parliament launched the report yesterday, saying that it would be naïve for Muslim communities to think that child abuse did not effect them:
"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, Labour MP for Keighley, has supported the report saying:
"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. Madrasas 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 Madrasas 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.”