Tahfiz school ignores angry netizens over student’s death

The assistant warden of a religious school in Johor has been arrested for murder. — Bernama pic
The assistant warden of a religious school in Johor has been arrested for murder. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 2 ― A Johor religious school said it did not have to entertain public outrage on the internet over a student’s beating by an assistant warden that allegedly resulted in the amputation of his legs and death.

The management of Madrasah Tahfiz Al-Jauhar (MTAJ), a school based in Kota Tinggi that teaches memorisation of the Quran, also said the word “abuse” might not accurately depict the situation.

“MTAJ does not have to entertain netizens who are too full of suspicion because 97 per cent of them have never dealt with MTAJ and are only talking and writing based on perceptions and sentiments that have been played up,” MTAJ management said on its Facebook page yesterday.

“MTAJ will take all suggestions into account for further action. MTAJ only needs to apologise to netizens for our inability to answer all questions,” it added.

The Islamic school questioned why the victim, Mohamad Thaqif Amin Mohd Gaddafi, would be abused since he was only 11 years old, was not a problematic child, and had only been at MTAJ for 57 days.

“Whereas MTAJ has more than 80 students who’ve been here for more than a year, some of whom may have bigger disciplinary or character development problems,” said MTAJ.

MTAJ clarified that Mohamad Thaqif’s letters, which it had given to the police, were not intended to show that the boy had a negative attitude.

“We wrote that it may help in knowing his character to determine his true state of mind that has been alleged to be full of pain because of emotional and physical abuse,” said MTAJ.

The school management also claimed that they have never agreed with the use of a rubber hose to discipline students.

“It wasn’t a joint decision in a meeting or the SOP for disciplinary actions,” said MTAJ.

“The Muslim assistant warden beating students with a rubber hose ― it cannot be an excuse for us to insult Islam or Muslims in general. Because we are all clear on the stance in Islam regarding punishment. That is so in the context of this case, what more blaming other madrasahs,” it added.

The tahfiz school also said it only hired the 29-year-old assistant warden, who is a former theft convict, after he finished his parole.

“The duties of an assistant warden do not include the powers to take disciplinary action against students. And this is the first incident of its kind,” said MTAJ.

Mohamad Thaqif was allegedly beaten on the soles of his feet with a hose on March 24, but was only taken to hospital in Johor Baru on April 19, where he was found to have massive bacterial infection in all his limbs and kidney failure.

He then had both legs amputated below the knee and had been scheduled for surgery to amputate his right forearm, but died on April 26 before it could take place.

The assistant warden has been arrested for murder.