UK: Smacking is OK in Mosque schools....
A little double standard in the UK....
Schools Secretary Ed Balls has been accused of refusing to ban Islamic schools from smacking children for fear of upsetting Muslim 'sensitivities'.
Mr Balls was last week urged to close a legal loophole which gives teachers in Britain's estimated 1,600 schools associated with mosques the right to smack children - even though it is banned in other schools.
He refused, prompting claims that he is allowing an alleged 'culture of physical abuse' in some of the mosque schools - or madrasahs - go unchecked.
Smacking is banned in all State and private schools. However, it does not apply to madrasahs, where pupils usually study in the evenings or at weekends, because the ban exempts schools where children attend for less than 12.5 hours per week.
Lib Dem schools spokesman David Laws, who is spearheading the campaign to close the smacking loophole, said: 'The Government needs to legislate to protect children - not leave an opt-out simply because it fears some ethnic or religious backlash.'
He was supported by Labour MP Ann Cryer, who said it would be 'bonkers' if the Government did not act. She said: 'I suspect people are frightened of upsetting the sensitivities of certain members of the Muslim faith.'
A report just over a year ago warned that madrasah students had been slapped, punched and had their ears twisted.
Irfan Chishti, a former Government adviser on Islamic affairs, said that one madrasah student was 'picked up by one leg and spun around' while another pupil said a teacher was 'kicking in my head like a football'.
In a separate report in 2006, leading British Muslim Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui raised fears that physical abuse in madrasahs was 'widespread'.