By Nawar Firdaws and Tarrence Tan
February 18, 2017
A religious leader has spoken against the
unIslamic practice of beating children to discipline them.
“I’ve seen parents hitting kids as young as
five or seven,” said Zainal Mohamed, assistant secretary of the Muslim Welfare
Organisation’s Malacca chapter. The organisation is better known by its Malay
Quoting a saying of the Prophet, Zainal
reminded Muslim parents that hitting children below the age of 10 would be
against a religious prohibition.
Even with a child older than 10, he said,
parents should punish him only to educate him and never use him as a punching
bag to vent out their frustrations.
“But 90% of the time, we see parents
hitting their children to release anger,” he said.
Zainal also criticised the mandatory
marriage course for engaged Muslim couples, saying it was lacking in the
teaching of parenting skills.
He proposed that the authorities correct
this flaw by introducing a parenting course for prospective parents.
“After all, Islam teaches that parents are
accountable for the behaviour of their children,” he said.
Zainal’s remarks followed a string of news
reports about violence against children.
Last September, the bodies of two children,
one seven months old and the other three years old, were found stuffed in large
containers in Segambut. Their father’s body was found lying on a bed in an
The father had criminal records for drug
abuse and possession, and was believed to be behind the murder of the two
children. The mother was subsequently charged for neglect and amphetamine
Two months later, the body of a
two-year-old boy was found in a decomposed state in a cooler box at the Payu
Nahu Flats in Kedah. His four-year-old sister was found to have been severely
abused. Their mother’s boyfriend was arrested on suspicion of child abuse.
According to statistics provided by the
United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Malaysia on its website,
3,428 cases of violence against children were reported in 2011 alone.
UNICEF said the reported cases most likely
represented only 10% of total cases.