This article was written by David McAfee and shared VIA The Friendly Atheist July 9th. I will not quote (nor comment on) the entire writing. Just some selected portions that I deem to be of importance.
Mohammed Haji Sadiq, a part-time imam who taught young kids about the Qur’an at a mosque in Wales, was just sentenced to 13 years in jail for his repeated assaults of four girls between the ages of 5 and 11. He reportedly abused them when they made a mistake in class.
For those who thought this was only a problem among Catholic priests, this should be a wake-up call. Sexual assaults are all too common within the Muslim tradition, too, and for many of the same reasons as we see in other institutionalized faiths without proper regulation.
For one, a number of Sadiq’s victims reportedly said they couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse because of cultural and religious taboos.
One girl said:
“Due to my religion it was very difficult, almost impossible to tell anyone what had happened… In the Muslim religion we do not talk about personal matters.”
Another of Sadiq’s victims echoed the sentiments of the first in court. She said it was “not acceptable” to discuss what happened at the mosque.
“I remember the relief I felt when I told my mother, and she believed me and went to the police… In my family honour is very important, but my family have been very supportive.”
Any abuse of power is terrible. Religious authorities abusing their power (often with impunity) is in a category of all its own. The dark side of the catholic church is well known now.
But here we have something much worse. Not only do we have abuses of authority, we have abuses of authority within an already untrusted cohort. The victims here seem to have lucked out in terms of having a support network to look to (in their family). But imagine anything outside of this context.
Your community of worship is more than likley tainted. Your family will not hear of it. And the outside world is either automatically suspicious of you just based on your clothing, or uses it as a cruel form of confirmation bias.
Where does a person turn, should they find themselves in this situation?
I don’t really have an answer to that question. And not just for abused Muslims either. The same goes for the abused (and the expats) of any number of religions. Religions that may not get the airtime that big names like Catholicism and Islam get, yet are more than likley just as bad (if not worse!). Another that comes to mind is Scientology.
Though its the social media way to react to these kinds of stories just because they tick us us off or seem to prove a point, it is more useful to took deeper.
It’s no secret that people in positions of authority will often take advantage of others, but when that is combined with an outdated ethical code and a lack of regulation, we see ongoing abuse and cover-ups. That’s what we need to stop.
I don’t really disagree. But I something to add.
As long as there are sacrosanct ideologies (be they religious, cultural, patriotic or otherwise), there will be situations like this. Or to clarify more, as long as most people place more weight on a label or reputation than on what is often right under their noses, these things will happen.
Be it high ranking members of pretty much ANY type of organization imaginable, or people that rank high on the credibility score just because of a lifetime of perceived morality.
Be fair and hear everyone out. But do not let labels or perceived reputations cloud your judgement.