Kwara Flogging Video: Islamic Schools’ Physical Abuse Culture Is Creating A Traumatized Generation Of Adolescents

When I saw the viral video of students at an Islamic school in Kwara state being flogged for violating school rules, I couldn’t help but remember my time attending Islamic schools in Lagos Island. Although I had received some incredible beatings at the hands of my teachers as well, I wasn’t so humiliated as having the videos of my flogging posted for the world to see.

Perhaps the only good thing to have come out of this episode is that the viral outcome of the video culminated in the Kwara State Government promising to clampdown on such abusive and humiliating treatment of human beings. But four key issues are still begging for concrete discussion, which, if neglected, may prevent parents and teachers from really understanding why flogging isn’t an act of disciplining a ward but a blatant violation of the ward’s rights and dignity.

First, as someone who was an Islamic teacher at some point, I understand that corporal punishment for bad behavior is a permitted action under Sharia as practiced across the Islamic world. The Quran and hadith provides for reprimanding that has to be proportionate to the crime as interpreted by local Sharia practices. However, Kwara state does not exist within a country where Sharia law is of universal application. Even if we assume that the school saw itself as having permission to apply corporal punishment since the setting was Islamic, it was still located in a state not operating under Sharia law….

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