Why must they tread lightly? What about the children who are being beaten while they tread lightly? They didn’t feel any need to tread lightly when priests were being arrested for abuse; why is this different? From The Telegraph, with thanks to Jeremy Langton:
Police and child protection officials have launched an investigation into allegations of child abuse at two mosques in the West Midlands.
Around 40 schoolchildren are to be interviewed over claims that they have been subjected to violence and punishment by elders at the mosques, which are on adjoining roads.
The investigation was sparked last month when the mother of an eight-year-old boy complained to the police that a mullah [teacher] had slapped her son on the back and made him lie face down before putting his right foot on the boy’s back, leaving him with chest pains for more than 24 hours.
As word spread that an official complaint had been made, more children from the area came forward to report beatings and abuse which, the youths say, include being hit, slapped and even beaten with a hockey stick.
As the number of allegations grew, officers from West Midlands police called in the NSPCC to help deal with child protection and other welfare issues.
Police have been forced to tread lightly as elders and mullahs at mosques are among the most respected and influential people in the community.
Relations with the Muslim community in the area are fragile and police officers are aware of the difficulty they face getting evidence as often local people are reluctant to talk.
A source close to the inquiry said: “There is a cultural problem to deal with.
“People here are very concerned about doing anything that will bring disgrace on their community or the mosques, and are often ostracised if they speak out. Some parents find it acceptable for the mullahs to chastise children physically, while others who don’t are too fearful to speak out.
“Community leaders close ranks and are not slow to claim persecution or racism by the authorities.
“They have a great deal of control over children and adults, especially the men.
“But it is the duty of the police to act if there are allegations that children are being routinely beaten.”