Pride and Prejudice

The recent report about a mother beating her seven year old son to death in Pontcanna, Cardiff, Wales, because she was distressed as he could not by-heart some verses of the Quran is indeed extremely shocking. This could be a case of a woman suffering from a mental illness, and while such incidents may not happen every day, but it reveals how deeply religion has been misused and misinterpreted, causing tragedies across the world today.
Surprisingly, the Muslim world and Muslim media kept silent about the incident, citing it as “just somebody’s personal family affair.’ How come as Muslims we tend to react only when others oppress us, but are quiet when we oppress each other?
According to the statement given by the mother in the court in South Wales, where she has been sentenced with life imprisonment, she has said that she wanted her son to make her proud and impress the Imam too by memorizing over 35 verses of the Quran. Her son, according to her was rather slow, and distressed over this, she killed him!
This is not the story in Wales alone, it seems to be the story in most households in India and abroad too where “taking pride in your child’s religious achievements” seems to be the goal of most parents today. There are umpteen examples in India itself of educated parents exhibiting their children’s ability to recite verses from the holy scriptures whenever they visit their relatives’ homes. Religious fanaticism borders on mental illness. While this may be a case of Islamic extremism, Muslims are not the only offenders. There are reports of children all over the world abused or killed by their parents and others for not learning or abiding by religious doctrines.
Imbibing religious values in children is important, but the style and manner can never be compulsion and coercion. Strict disciplining using the stick is no way to make children understand God. Religion is a person’s private issue and puffing up with pride about the rites and rituals of the religion one follows is derogatory to the spirit of the religion.
A more gentle and soft way of imbibing spiritual and moral values by parents and even teachers, on children will help the kids to grow up with a positive mindset towards religion. If children are taught to take pride in one’s own religion and feel prejudiced against another religion, their fragile hearts and minds will only turn to extremism and this is something that parents and teachers ought to realize and reflect upon.

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