On the eve of November 2, an eight-year-old pupil, Muhammad Ramzan, was molested and then pushed off a balcony to his untimely death. This happened at the local Madrassa in Faisalabad, Pakistan. The perpetrators were his fellow peers.

A little background

Madrassas are Islamic divinity schools that primarily exist in Muslim countries. They attract large, poverty-stricken families, as the institutions are a source of free food and shelter for those less fortunate. Ramzan belonged to a poor family from Shujabad, a city in south Punjab, Pakistan.

Around 35,000 more Madrassas are currently operating in Pakistan, a few of which are known to train kids to become terrorists.

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The number of locations has steadily inclined through the 11-year tenure of Zia ul Haq, Pakistan’s conservative dictator. He destroyed the once secular ideology of the country, originally set by her founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. After Haq’s rule, the country became accepting of atrocities triggered by strict and non-conventional Sharia law. This included the death penalty for blasphemy, child marriages, and women being banned from testifying against their own sexual abuse in a court of law.

Fear-driven murder

Ramzan’s lifeless corpse remained unnoticed for roughly five hours, until a resident of a small village nearby, found his naked body in a field. This was located a few miles from the Madrassa. Police, however, arrived late to the scene, despite repeated calls made by the village residents.

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The administrator of the school, his son, and four other teenagers were arrested. One of the teens, Muhammad Rizwaan, confessed to the #Molestation and #Murder of eight-year-old Ramzan. His motive was fear, for Ramzan had threatened to report their actions to the administrator. Avoiding defamation, the teen and his friends took Muhammad Ramzan to the second floor of the building, attempted to strangle him, and then pushed him off the edge.

This Madrassa of Faisalabad has a history of inhuman practices. In 2016, a nine-year-old student, Noor Ahmed, was also sexually abused and killed in the nearby fields.

Another thought-provoking anecdote is the lack of coverage by the local media regarding both murder cases from this specific school. Searches on the Internet provide minimal news and updates, showing the lack of interest of local journalists.

Are our kids safe?

The chaotic situation at hand makes us ask the question: is the safety of the students being compromised? According to Hafeez Tunio (Chief Reporter, Pakistan's Express Tribune) 93 Islamic divinity schools in Sindh, Pakistan, have ties with terrorist organisations across the globe.

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Richard Holbrooke, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. during the Clinton administration, addressed 70 Malaysian and Thai students at a Madrassa during his interview with PBS. These kids were studying side-by-side with students that had returned from the Afghan war.

Madrassas are considered places of goodness because they help satisfy basic survival needs for poor families; however, due to lack of research and biased media, we are still uncertain as to what happens inside them behind closed doors. #Madrasas