A Facebook video showing a traditional Quran teacher (Fqih) relentlessly beating a child has gone viral.
Rabat – A video posted on social media, on August 6, documented the moment a Fqih (Quran Teacher) beat one of his students (5-6 years old) inside the “M’sid” (traditional Quranic schools).
In his interview with Alyaoum 24, Mohamed Reda Taoujni, the owner of the video, said that he took the footage while preparing a report on the city of Taghazout near Agadir. “while I was busy taking pictures of the city, I heard the scream of a child and directed my lens at the source of the scream,” he said.
Taoujni, a social activist from Agadir, explained that he tried to contact the child’s father, who apparently “agrees with the Fqih’s sadistic ways.”
In Morocco, a high number of parents and teachers believe that physical punishment is acceptable, even advised.
People commenting on the video were divided between those who normalized the practice of violence against children and those who criminalized it.
One comment said, “let’s be real, that stick wouldn’t even hurt; this new generation deserves more than that.” “we’ve been hit with worse objects, and now I respect older people,” added the internet user.
A second one described the scene as “normal” pointing out that “we’ve been disciplined this way; if these methods were still used, the new generation would have been much better, much more manly.”
Another comment addressed the Fqih saying, “May God punish you! You savage animal; he is just a kid.” Supporting this view, another internet user threatened, “if that was my child, the teacher would have been dead already!”
The death of Hiba (10 years old), on February 14, 2017, stirred nationwide controversy. Hiba’s parents accused her teacher of “slapping” her before “hitting her on the head with a stick,” for not learning that day’s lesson.
Hiba was “punished” on January 17. Two days later, her parents noticed a swelling in her left eye, followed by headaches, then death.
The regional delegate of the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training in Meknes told Moroccan channel 2M that “the autopsy doctor said that the cause of death was an eye infection which the child was already suffering from and that the teacher’s blow couldn’t have been the cause.”
The use of physical violence or insults against students has been banned in Morocco since 1999. In a note (n° 807/99 of September 23, 1999) Ismail El Alaoui, then Minister of National Education, had urged teachers to “avoid using any form of physical or psychological violence against pupils.”
The Penal Code punishes beatings, injuries, violence, assaults committed against a child under the age of 15 with one to three years imprisonment (Article 408). If the assault results in death, even unintentionally, the penalty is 20 to 30 years imprisonment (Article 410).