CRI Update: Morsi encouraged teaching children to hate, increased use of child soldiers in Central African Republic, and more...
Jan 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm
The New York Times
Despite Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's supposed commitment to Egypt's treaty with Israel and partnership with President Obama to establish peace in the Gaza Strip, a series of anti-Semitic and anti-Western comments he made several years ago have called into question the sincerity of his newfound diplomacy. In 2010, while a Muslim Brotherhood leader, Morsi publically called upon Egyptians to "nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred" for Zionists and Jews, adding that Egyptian children "must feed on hatred . . . as a form of worshiping [God]." At other times, Morsi described Zionists as "Draculas," "bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, warmongers, [and] descendants of apes and pigs," language historically associated with anti-Semitism.
Morsi's rhetoric is by no means the only instance of efforts in Egypt to indoctrinate children to hate non-Muslims. In 2011, attention was brought to Egyptian school curricula that presented Islam as "the only true faith" and labeled followers of other religions, including Judaism and Christianity, as "infidels." A report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), a think-tank in Jerusalem, warned that Egyptian schools must stop teaching children to fear and hate non-Muslims since such sentiments are precisely what leads to violence and terrorism in response to conflict.
Daily Mail Online
A trial has begun in Great Britain to prosecute a gang of nine men from the Oxford area accused of sexually abusing six girls, as young as age 11, between May 2004 and early 2012. These men, along with others, allegedly "actively targeted" poor, often parentless girls with perfume, alcohol, and drugs. The girls were reportedly subjected to what has been described as "extreme physical and sexual violence," including repeated rape, torture with various weapons, suffocation, biting, burning with cigarettes, and drugging into submission. The men, aged 24 to 38, have been charged with 79 offenses for their "intentional and persistent" abuse, including child rape, trafficking for sexual exploitation, arranging or facilitating child prostitution, and using an instrument with intent to procure a miscarriage. The trial is expected to last until August.
Saudi Arabia's policy (or lack thereof) on child brides has recently become a topic of much controversy following the marriage of a 70-year-old man to a 15-year-old girl. Currently, Saudi Arabia has no law requiring a minimum age for marriage. A Saudi human rights worker has also stated that, given the large difference in age, the girl appears to have been sold and her parents should be held accountable. In the midst of outrage expressed by advocates against child marriage, the man has claimed that the girl is in fact 25 year old and was part of a plot to cheat him out of the dowry he paid to the girl's parents.
The Times of Israel
Umm Osama, wife of Hamas MP Khalil Al-Hayya, told an interviewer on Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV that a mother's role is to "instill in her children the love of Jihad and martyrdom for the sake of Allah." Addressing the importance of women in Palestinian society, Osama said, "When a man goes to wage Jihad, his wife does not say 'Don't go' or try to stop him. She encourages and supports him. She is the one who prepares his equipment, bids him farewell, and welcomes [his Jihad]." She continued that there would be no one to support Palestine if all mothers prevented their sons from waging Jihad, adding that "[Palestine's] price is paid with our body remains and our lifeblood."
The Huffington Post
A 15-year-old Maldivian, whose stepfather was accused by police of repeatedly raping her and murdering the baby he fathered, now faces flogging for "fornication" with another man. While investigating the rape case, evidence was reportedly discovered that the girl had had consensual sex with another man, which is a crime under the nation's strict Sharia (Islamic) law. According to a local newspaper, an official from the prosecutor's office stated that the fornication charge was unrelated to the rape.
UNICEF has reported that rebel groups and pro-government militias in Central African Republic are increasingly recruiting children for use in armed conflict. The country now faces a rebellion in the north and, even before the conflict began last month, an estimated 2,500 children were involved with armed forces. The rebellion has impacted approximately 300,000 children, resulting in separation from families, sexual violence, and lack of access to education and health facilities. According to reports, children are not only being forcibly recruited to fight but also for use as sex slaves.
The New York Times
Earlier this month, Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani advocate for female education who survived an assassination attempt by Taliban militants, was discharged from a UK hospital. Yousafzai, who was shot in the head in October, will be treated as an outpatient before returning to the hospital later this winter for cranial reconstructive surgery. At age 11, Yousafzai's advocacy began with the publication of her blog, Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl, which discussed life under Taliban rule.
According to the UN, Sri Lanka has successfully ended its recruitment and use of child soldiers. In June 2012, the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict removed Sri Lanka from its "List of Shame," which includes parties to conflict that have committed grave violations against children. The nation's efforts to rehabilitate and reintegrate former child combatants were also applauded.
Colombian Green Party Senator Gilma Jimenez has called on the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the nation's largest guerrilla group, to release all child soldiers as part of peace talks with the FARC. Norway, Cuba, Venezuela, and Chile are acting as guarantors in the peace process, and Jimenez has urged these countries to ensure that the talks address the return of child soldiers. FARC has reportedly abducted children for use in armed conflict and has even entered schools and bribed children for such purposes.