Hamzah*. 8 years old. Abused. In need of help.
Tucked away in a little house, in the township of Lawley, are 35 boys aged from about 6 to 12. They look undernourished. Their faces show fear. When a volunteer visited them last week they were told to hide their face from the camera and not speak to anyone. Today, while visiting I questioned one of the smaller boys. At first he was hesitant, he was scared and he avoided looking at us as if he (a little boy of 8) had something to be ashamed about.
He told us how if he or any of the other boys made a mistake, they were beaten. When we questioned him and some other boys about where their parents were, many stated that they were in Orange Farm, almost as if they were brainwashed or told that this was the answer to give to whoever asked. When asked if the boy went to school he replied no which sent my mind across dimensions with baffling questions of what they were actually doing there.
While the main leader of the institute was not present, the two other “caretakers” had conflicting stories about the boys. The one, when questioned said that the boys were orphans while the other stated that these boys had parents. While the institute receives funding to take care of these boys, it is evident by looking at the children, that they are not being taken care of. The stagnant air invaded our senses as the smell of filth and dirt enveloped us when we entered one of the rooms utilized for the boys to sleep in.
The boy of just 8 years old, a shaking little figure, said that the sheikh would beat the boys if they made a mistake. Silently, tears rolled down his eyes as he battled to go on about “what happened in the night…” an obvious implication that some other form of abuse was going on. We asked him if he wanted to go back to his mother, and understandably and unquestionably, he replied in the affirmative.
While touring the rest of this small piece of land, we found at the back, a luxurious couch, alongside a state of the art kitchen which one of the caretakers said that the boys were not allowed in that area. My questions became endless; why were these boys here? Where is all the funding that they receive going to? How, in the name of Islam can you rectify intentions of abuse, oppression or other forms of harassment? And lastly why do our religious leaders not practice what they preach?
In every Friday lecture we hear “do not abuse your wives, do not sin, respect your parents, be true in your business dealings, do not involve yourself in corruption and the list goes on and on and on…” Often, what we don’t hear is the fact that these very same religious leaders are committing the very sins that they preach to us about staying away from. They emit themselves as pious and that they can do no wrong but yet they are oppressing and abusing their wives, they involve themselves in corruption, and they build institutions that have been led on fraud, abuse and immorality.
In so far as numerous amounts of things go, a number of Muslims in and around our communities are the exact people that we complain about, such being those who extort people and have them believe they are donating to a worthy cause while the received funding is pocketed and used unlawfully. Such acts are beyond despicable and should not go unnoticed. In so far as the religious leaders and committees are concerned, they refuse to even bother checking up on the manners of which the funding is distributed and spent, the well-being of MUSLIM children, accompanied by the fact that there are people in which the religious leaders unknowingly share a platform with such a sick kind of people that will preach their religion and only encourage good, while reprimanding wrongdoers for their bad actions, yet they commit some of the most horrific and terrifying injustices and wrongs known to man- dishonesty in the face of acclaimed aid.
As much as it is taught for every person to pray for the people doing wrong to fix their actions, such people deserve to encounter the harshest and most gruesome downfalls ever seen. And it is upon each and every one of us to speak out and aid the people who are genuinely in need of assistance, and take the initiative in seeing exactly how our aid is distributed, and witness the results at the same time.
*Name has been changed