Pakistan's Madrassa Scandal, cont.


Secularist scholar Irfan Khawaja recently posted his reaction to allegations of child abuse in Pakistan's madrassas, an essay he describes as "an exploration of the implications" of the issue "if the charges turn out to be true."

Khawaja notes the numerous questions raised by these allegations, and wonders why Western journalists have taken so little interest in a story that could be "to Pakistan (and by extension to the Muslim world) what the analogous story was to the Catholic Church a few years ago—or for that matter what Abu Ghraib has been for the US occupation of Iraq. Both of the latter scandals have permanently scarred the institutions responsible for producing them. The consequences of inflicting the same sorts of damage on the Pakistani madrasacracy are incalculable—incalculably good, that is."

The charges, writes Khawaja, "give some perspective to Islamic fundamentalists' tedious habit of sermonizing at us about the supposed sexual dysfunctionality of 'the West' and the superior moral virtue of 'the Islamic East.'"

Citing incidents of gang rape in Punjab, mass rape in Darfur, female genital mutilation, and honor killings (among other matters), Khawaja believes that "it would appear to be time for our holier-than-thou sermonizers to introspect a bit."