This post was inspired by comment and information from Care2 members Rob and Jay B. They commented on a post about the latest scandalous push back by some Catholics against allegations of child abuse in Missouri.
Much has been written about child abuse and the Catholic Church. But other religions are also being criticized for failing to do enough to tackle the problem of those who abuse their positions of authority. This post covers just some recent examples.
In Indonesia, authorities are being accused of dragging their heels on the prosecution of Habib Hasan bin Jafar Assegaf, a popular Muslim cleric.
The alleged abuse took place about eight years ago but was only recently reported. The 11 men involved claimed in December that Habib told them when they were teenage children that he needed to touch them to remove evil spirits while giving them “healing treatments.”
Police defended themselves last week against delays in questioning the cleric by saying that ‘the sensitive nature of the allegations required careful handling.’
In the UK last December, a BBC investigation found hundreds of cases of physical and sexual abuse at Muslim religious schools, with very few leading to prosecutions.
The BBC were told that pressure often leads to the withdrawal of allegations. But Muslim leaders said they took the investigation seriously with Mohammad Shahid Raza, chairman of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board, set up by Muslim organizations to improve standards in mosques, saying:
“I’m not sure how wide this unacceptable practice is, but our responsibility is to make those who run the mosques realize we live in a civilized society and this is not acceptable at any cost.”
Others said that there were too many unregulated madrassas, or schools for religious instruction.
In the US in December, an Imam in Phoenix was arrested and confessed to molesting a ten year old boy, police said. Local TV reported mosque members defending the Imam despite his confession.
This month, the conviction of two adults of the prolonged torture and murder of a teenager accused of witchcraft in London has shocked the UK.
Child abuse linked to belief in witchcraft is a growing phenomenon in Britain, according to evidence submitted to a parliamentary inquiry into child protection.
Other examples of abuse in religious settings include cases of cruelty, sadism, injury and death in Christian Evangelical driven ‘boot camps’ for young people in the United States and other countries and similar treatment of gay people at ‘cure’ clinics in Ecuador.
Image by Pink Sherbet Photography