A Malaysian school boy aged 11 has died in hospital after being severely beaten at an Islamic school. Mohamed Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi’s beatings were so bad that his legs, which were whipped with a water hose, were amputated to prevent the spread of infection. Bernama, the state news agency, reported on the death.
The boy’s death has sparked outrage in the Muslim-majority country. He, and other pupils, were whipped with a water hose. An assistant warden gave the whippings at the Johor Islamic school, which is north of Singapore.
There have been circulated photos of the boy with blackened legs, which were swollen from infection. After admittance to the hospital 2 weeks later, the doctors had to amputate the 11-year-old’s legs while he was in a coma.
The amputations were to prevent the spread of infection. The district police chief, Rahmat Othman, said, “We are now waiting for the medical and autopsy reports from the hospital before taking further action.”
Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, chairman of the Parent Action Group for Education, said, “To this day, we do not know who are actually in charge of regulating tahfiz schools.” Many of the Islamic educational schools are privately operate and have registration in a government/state religious department.
They tend not to be with the education ministry. The education ministry has “strict guidelines” on corporal punishment, whereas the private Islamic schools do not. This particular case has prompted many to demand more scrutiny of the “tahfiz” educational institutions.
Students memorise the Quran there. Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced a 5.4 million British pound fund for the development of tahfix education, but has expressed condolences for the loss of the boy.
The death of Mohamed Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi has focused a lot of public attention on a new bill being discussed in the Malaysian Parliament, a bill that would impose more stringent forms of the Islamic penal code. This could include whipping.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.