Child abuse in religious courses in Turkey: Beaten with hammer, harassment with massage

It was reported that many children were abused in an unlicensed boarding Qur'an course operating under the association called Fıkıh-Der in İstanbul's Ümraniye district. Child victims who were beaten with a hammer told what they lived in the courses
Thursday, 05 September 2019 14:55

In an unlicensed boarding Qur'an course which operates under the umbrella of the Fıkıh-Der in Ümraniye, İstanbul, children were abused and harassed, it is recently reported.

Seyhan Avşar from Cumhuriyet daily has interviewed the minors who were abused and maltreated at the boarding Quran course.

Y. İ. who started the Quran course when s/he was at high school told the reporter that ‘Ömer İ, who was the manager of the Quran course, favored certain kids, and later called them to his private room. Everything started with a massage. Ömer hodja made me give him a massage. He made me touch his other body parts. However, he could not go any farther. M. E. Ö. was sleeping with the hodja in the same bed, they were taking shower together, and they were praying together. This kid told everything at the police station but he did not lodge a complaint."

Some other kids were also talking about a similar situation, however, they talked otherwise at the police station, the child also said.

"At least 30 kids who were abused but kept their silence because they would be disturbed by evil spirits of hodjas (preacher) if they talked. H. R. Ö. is my cousin and he was at the same Quran course with me. H. R. Ö.’s father Ertan Ö. does not believe us. Ertan Ö. never listened to his son, never saw bruises on his body, never saw him jumping out of the bed in the middle of the night. He accuses H. R. Ö. for slandering against the hodjas," s/he added.

Another student İ.T told the reporter that "The manager and other hodjas were sexually teasing us. They made me kiss their chests. They embarrassed some of our friends. They were also beating us with hammers. If we were beaten, they did not send us home. We were ignorant so we keep our silence. Ones whose families were not supportive were beaten worse."

The teacher arrested for alleged abuse of children in the Qur'an course said "the children were doing massage on my foot for 'bootlicking', for looking nice to me" and denied the allegations by saying that the physical environment was not suitable for abuse.