Monday, May 05, 2014

AFRICA - Senegal, Boys Forced to Beg

Note "young boys" not girls.  The brand of Islam that excludes girls education.  This practice is tantamount to child slavery.

"In Senegal, thousands of young boys forced into begging system for Koranic study" PBS NewsHour 5/2/2014


JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  And we travel now to Senegal, considered one of West Africa’s rising nations, home to a stable democracy with plans for universal health care and education, but where a troubling human rights crisis persists.

Kira Kay of the Bureau for International Reporting has the story.

KIRA KAY, Bureau for International Reporting:  In a sandy courtyard in the city of Saint-Louis, a group of young boys begin their evening prayer studies.  They are talibes, meaning students, and they have come 200 miles from their home villages to live with this Koranic master, called a marabout.

But their studies have only come at the end of a long, hard day’s work begging on the streets.  You see Senegal’s talibes weaving in and out of traffic with their little yellow tubs or rusty cans.  It’s dangerous, dirty work, up to 10 hours a day.  Along with morsels of food, they are hoping for money.  They owe their marabout a quota of about a dollar a day.

Begging is used to teach talibes humility and resilience.  But this marabout admits it’s also a matter of simple economics.

ALIOUNE SECK, Koranic Teacher (through interpreter):  You have to buy these books, medicine, water, electricity, everything you need in life.  And the government doesn’t give it to us.  That’s why they beg.

KIRA KAY:  Talibe aid worker Issa Kouyate says what he sees is more sinister.

ISSA KOUYATE, Maison de la Gare:  The society knows that these marabouts treat these boys like slavery.  The government knows these marabouts treat these boys like slavery.  Most of the marabouts abuse these boys.

KIRA KAY:  The talibe system is unique to West Africa, and is rooted in centuries-old tradition, says Imam Mouhamed Cherif Diop.

MOUHAMED CHERIF DIOP, Coordinator, Tostan (through interpreter):  It is assumed that I am not capable of giving my children their necessary education because of my affection, that I will tolerate things that I shouldn’t.  And so we have entrusted our children to the marabouts, who live in another village, to create this distance to permit a good education.

IMHO "good education" in this case means religious brain washing, no alternative ideas allowed, only what the marabout teach.  Which perpetuates the chauvinistic Islamic practice.

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