What can we do about these incidents?

“The mother of a girl allegedly raped when she was 13 by an imam at a mosque today said she thought a change in her daughter’s behaviour was “just a mood swing”. The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had not known of the allegations against Manzoor Hussain and put her teenage daughter’s mood change down to her age.

Hussain, 42, of Ashley Street, St Paul’s, Bristol, denies 11 counts of indecent assault and one charge of rape against the girl between July 1996 and March 1997.”

full story here.

I would imagine there are a lot of hidden incidents like this in our communities and we are not prepared to take the appropriate action when such incidents come about. As a community we are more concerned with the shame and attention incidents like this will bring on us and we sweep it under that carpet hoping that the problem will go away. I have heard of cases where people have shown inappropriate behaviour towards children and mosque committees have just told the person concerned to move on when what they should be doing is reporting allegations to the police and have the matter dealt with there and then. There should be no room for such behaviour in our communities. When something like the above happens this is what brings shame upon us a community. If the case had been dealt with when it first occured it would not have got to the stage where a young girl’s life has been ruined and the word “Imam” becomes sullied by the behaviour of a single person.

Mosques up and down the country do not have proper recruitment procedures, people are employed through recommendation by people, no vetting or interview is conducted, no reference are sought and no police checks are made. When people are employed in our mosques inevitably they will come into contact with children and our children need to be protected from such unscrupulous people.

Unless our committees are more professional and driven by what is right and best for the community rather than personal prestige and gain there will be more incidents like this coming to light, the shame is in not dealing with these problems.

www.masud.co.uk

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5 thoughts on “What can we do about these incidents?”

  1. salam,
    you are absolutely correct sidi, we cannot hope for success as communites, masjids, even families, unless we are willing to treat our diseases by facing them. your previous posts re: mosque elections drive this point home. may Allah reward your efforts.

  2. Assalamu alaikum,

    While it is of utmost importance to make our mosques and other institutions relevant & accountable, it is also important not to forget:

    a) that every human being is presumed innocent until proven otherwise;

    b) Islamically, it is a major sin to accuse anyone of actual zina without the requisite evidence;

    c) Sexual improprieties that are less than zina may be established with lesser evidence, but it is haram to mention anyone (Muslim or non-Muslim) as having committed such improprieties (outside of court, of course) until their presumed innocence is lifted.

    Thus, we have to be very careful about upholding the honor of others–by not mentioning their names in relation to sexual crimes, especially.

    At the same time, we have to wake up as a community, and have Islamic institutions that are Islamic in their workings, procedures, and policies.

  3. I have a five-year old niece who was abused in a London masjid by a “worshipper”. When asked why she went with him to the toilets she replied, “Because he had a beard and looked like unlce so-and-so” (who is kind and God-fearing btw). Fortunately when the police were called the masjid co-operated fully and the man was duly arrested. Too many mosques fail our community – too many, but insha’allah it is changing in some places.

    And may Allah preserve the Muslims (and the children) wherever they are. Amin.

  4. Salam Everyone,

    sidi Faraz you mentioned very important points. We are a community that needs to pay utmost attention to our behavior.

    I believe every masjid should have video cameras for security reasons – we have heard about so many improper things in the masjid, from stealing donation money to …

    All sorts of people come to the mosques and we need to make sure that our mosques are open for learning and community services but closed for anything haram.

    wasSalam,
    faraz khan – new jersey, usa

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