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The Person, not the Institution


The death of Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Ghaddafi brought tears to the eyes of many. His death consumed many in grief, and one can only assume the immense pain that has grasped his family and friends. Being opportunists, some took this as an opportunity to bash the religious schools, whereas others set themselves upon caning policies.

The cause of his death was allegedly the disciplining received from his warden. Comments, articles, news reports and opinions scattered the virtual realm, some questioning the role of such schools while others blamed the teacher for the disaster.

Even if the teacher is proven to be guilty, the entire institution of religious schools cannot be held responsible. Just as the administration is not held guilty for the wrongdoings of teacher(s), the same rule applies. Perhaps the act of blaming an entire group for the mistake of some, stemmed from the political situation at hand.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or otherwise known as ISIS is widely seen to be representing Islam. And many a times labeled as Islamic Radicals, fundamentalists and other unpleasant names. The issue is not merely in the syntactics but also semantics. Klu Klux Klan, Anders Brevik, Irish Republican Army, and others that profess the Christian faith almost never have their actions associated with the religion.

There is a definite double standard that exists, at least in the realm of media. For the learned, a criminal does not epitomise her religion. Likewise, in the case of our beloved Mohamad Thaqif Amin, his teacher even if proven guilty, does not represent the religious schools nor the religion. The wrong acts of a person are wrong, regardless her religion, race, geography, lineage etc.

Would it be fair to close down all churches in the country due to the actions of Richard Huckle? Huckle did not commit a crime against one or two children, it was against an entire community. Traumatising for life those poor little souls that did no harm to anyone.

Between the years 1980 and 2015, 4,444 people alleged incidents involving 93 Catholic Church authorities in Australia. A total of 1,900 perpetrators have been identified with another 500 remaining. A total of AUD 276 million was paid to 3,066 victims with hundreds more pending.

Would it be fair for the Australian authorities to close down churches for these crimes? According to a report published by Fox News in 2007, there were 10,667 plausible victims of childhood sexual abuse involving 4,392 priests.

Action has been taken on individuals at all levels, but the institution was spared. Despite the prevalence of the incidence(s) on holy grounds, the sanctity of the Church is not affected. The emphasis has to be on the person committing these acts and not the institution behind it.

There is always room for improvement among us and within ourselves. Instead of working to demean Islamic schools, suggestions can be made for the betterment. Any development that is positive in religious institutions, will eventually affect the development of this country.

As the saying goes, don’t throw the baby with the bath. In making an effort to cleanse, one must make sure that the good remains and only the evil is sanitised. Seminaries should be salvific in nature for both the teacher and the student. In case of failure, it would not be wise to generalise across the board.

Let justice be served for those who deserve it, and the rest of us can work for a better world.