Child Abuse: Not Just a Catholic Church Problem

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.

Related stories:

Catholics Fight Church’s Victims – Again

Entire School Staff Removed from Sexual Abuse Scandalized School in California

Afghan Child Bride Tortured For Refusing Prostitution

Image by Pink Sherbet Photography


Mark T.
Mark T.2 years ago

As a Catholic, I am appalled at the sickening abuses committed by some of the priests and bishops in my Church, but I get just as angry about it being made to look like it's the only cab on the rank. Thank you to Paul Canning for writing such a well balanced article.

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Bloody horrid!

Trudy C.
T. C.4 years ago

Creeps flourish anywhere (church, sect, hockey association, school, RCMP) they find ripe conditions for their unholy intentions: authoritarian style, hierarchical top-down structure, secretiveness & lack of accountability (to congregants, voters or community - the shepherd is out there with no equals monitoring his conduct with the flock, any Council of Shepherds' concern is protection of Shepherds not the sheep), lack of transparency, inordinate awe of & childlike trust in the superstars/minister/leaders, plus ability to induce guilt to ensure silence of families, great gap/lack common ground with or fellow feeling for the group the victims come from (congregants, children, public). Safer for all if organizations become more democratic, are responsible to what would've been the victims' pool, so there is a sense of ownership by them, no sacred status for monsters to hide behind.

elizabeth k.
Elizabeth K.4 years ago

There is good and bad in all everything. every ppl, race, religion, culture, countrie and all status' . Ppl need to stop warmongering and trying to blame one or the other for one thing or the other! we need to start accepting this.

Mary L.
Mary L.4 years ago

Evil in the name of good is evil. I'm pretty sure someone smart said that a long long time ago in a land far from America.

Past Member
Past Member 4 years ago

I think it's important that people are aware that it happens in all religons and not just within the Catholic church as that has been the main focus! This is the first I have heard of it happening elsewhere, well done for broadcasting!

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

it happens everywhere, regardless of color, creed, religion or social standing :(

Justyna D.
Justyna Z.4 years ago

I'm glad that finally there is growing awareness that it's not just all the Catholic Church that has this problem!

Amber F.
Amber F.4 years ago

Thank you for posting.

KS Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.