Ed Balls permits corporal punishment in shari’a schools
And Anjem Choudary is laughing because ‘shari’a is coming’, he proclaims.
With Government complicity, it appears.
Cranmer is all for corporal punishment: as it is written: ‘He who spareth the rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him correcteth him betimes’ (Prov 13:24) and ‘Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou strike him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell’ (23:13f).
Not, of course, as a first recourse. And never out of anger, but always in a context of love.
The State banned corporal punishment from its classrooms in 1987. This was extended to all types of schools in 1998.
Some Christian schools tenaciously argued between 2001-2005 through successive court hearings, appeals, and ultimately in the House of Lords, that the legislation breached the right of Christians to practise their religion according to their beliefs as protected by the European convention on human rights. Headmaster Phil Williamson said there was a ‘biblical mandate’ for corporal punishment.
And so there is.
Just as there is for slavery and stoning homosexuals.
But we don’t go in for that any more.
This is not a post on the rights and wrongs or pros and cons of corporal punishment: that is a matter for the conscience of the parents.
And Cranmer is not against corporal punishment in Islamic schools: he is opposed to double standards, differential treatment and the privileging of shari’a schools over others. If corporal punishment be prohibited in all state and independent schools – as the 1998 School Standards and Framework Act clearly intends – then it is difficult to see why madrasahs are exempt.
Do not Muslim children have an equal right under the law as those of other faiths to be protected from abuse? Why are we tolerating a culture of violence and physical oppression in Islamic schools while all the others are constrained by law to encourage, uplift, edify and generally mollycoddle and wrap in cotton wool? Good grief, pupils are not now even permitted to come last in a sporting event or fail an exam lest their fragile egos be deflated and their delicate sense of self-worth be damaged, causing life-long developmental trauma and irreparable emotional retardation.
But stammer over just one of the 99 names of Allah, and you can expect a swift slap around the ear.
Or worse, if you happen to be dyslexic.
According to The Mail on Sunday, there are 1600 schools ‘associated with mosques’ in the UK, and a ‘legal loophole’ grants them the right to smack the children being taught in them.
Mr Balls stands accused of turning a blind eye to this ‘for fear of upsetting Muslim “sensitivities”’.
What Cranmer did not know – and thinks it somewhat bizarre – is that the law does not apply to schools which children attend for less than 12.5 hours per week. And since madrasahs are essentially evening and weekend institutions, the teachers can slap, spank, cane and birch to their heart’s content, in accordance with the will of Allah and adherence to the perfect example of Mohammed.
Or worse; torture, even, for the culture makes it impossible for the children ever to complain without the risk of further retribution.
Very few MPs grasp this. But those whose constituencies have significant Muslim populations are only too aware of the problems. Labour MP Ann Cryer (Keighley) said it would be 'bonkers' if the Government did not act. She said: “I suspect people are frightened of upsetting the sensitivities of certain members of the Muslim faith.”
And please do not think this is simply a ‘white Christian’ bias or concern. The newspaper article says that Irfan Chishti, a former Government adviser on Islamic affairs, tells of one madrasah student was 'picked up by one leg and spun around' while another pupil said a teacher was 'kicking in my head like a football'. In a separate report in 2006, leading British Muslim Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui raised fears that physical abuse in madrasahs was 'widespread'.
But while everyone knows that the real problems occur in madrasahs, the Government has to spin the ‘equality’ blurb, for Labour are just as concerned about child abuse in classes run by 'strange Christian sects' and ‘fundamentalist Christian Sunday schools’.
Apparently, the corporal punishment exemption also covers Sunday schools, home tutors and other people who are considered to be acting 'in loco parentis' (Scout leaders can legally spank cubs?). The Mail says: 'They can still smack children as long as the punishment is "reasonable" - the same rule as applies to parents.'
And Ed Balls claims that if the Government banned madrasahs and Sunday schools from smacking children, ‘it would then have to ban grandparents and other relatives from doing the same’.
Cranmer does not quite grasp the logic of this.
But perhaps there is none: any non-sequitur, straw man, logical fallacy or purposeful obfuscation to avoid upsetting a very significant voting bloc in an awful lot of Labour-held seats.
And so it appears expedient for Ed Balls to tolerate the continuing abuse of Muslim children: we can't let a bit of ethnic child abuse get in the way of a General Election campaign, can we?