The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) has suggested the possible implementation of a child protection policy at masajid, to fall in line with the annual 16 Days of Activism campaign. In recent years the ulema have been active in the government run campaign against women and child abuse, and are seeking this year to further raise awareness about the troubling epidemic.
They have thus rolled out a 40 day campaign to address issues of abuse in the community, with imams now involved in discussions with the goal of instituting measures to spread awareness.
According to MJC secretary general, Maulana Abdul Khaliq Allie, the last few weeks had seen several members of the local Ulema fraternity holding various dialogues, with the central focus being ways in which mosques could help protect children. They had thus suggested implementing a child protection policy, which would govern how imams and madrassa teachers should engage with children. They would also look at better measures when employing people at masajid, most notably background checks to ascertain whether the individual was fit to be working with children.
“This is where madrassa teachers, imams and individuals who interact with children, are to be governed by a policy that is tight and fit, in accordance to the prophetic teachings of our beloved Nabi Muhammad (S.A.W),” he explained.
Furthermore, a stronger ‘mechanism’ was needed at these mosques, to help pick up on and address such cases of abuse.
He called on the community to actively discuss the issue around their tables during the 16 Days campaign.
Allie said that the issue of abuse was a deep rooted societal problem, which was evident amongst all communities across the world. The problem was particularly rife in South African society. To address it however, he stressed a conscientious 365 day a year approach was need.
“In addressing the issue, you need to have a conscious approach to the subjects of honor, respect, dignity, kindness and compassion to each and every single citizen in our country,” he said.
Allie insisted mosques needed to become safe havens for both women and children However, community involvement was also imperative.
“View each other in all situations with honor, respect and dignity. For that Allah will reward you,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)