Private Property

Today’s Times carried a front-page story about Muslim families who, wishing to maintain control over their children so as to prevent their exposure to decadent Western notions, have taken to withdrawing them from the educational system. In most instances it is, unsurprisingly, the daughters who are kept apart.

We read:

Like dozens of other Pakistani-American girls here, Hajra Bibi stopped attending the local public school when she reached puberty, and began studying at home.

Her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives, and had also worried that other American children would mock both her Muslim religion and her traditional clothes.

“Some men don’t like it when you wear American clothes — they don’t think it is a good thing for girls,” said Miss Bibi, 17, now studying at the 12th-grade level in this agricultural center some 70 miles east of San Francisco.

Yes, “some men” don’t like it at all.

In some cases, home-schooling is used primarily as a way to isolate girls like Miss Bibi, the Pakistani-American here in Lodi.

Some 80 percent of the city’s 2,500 Muslims are Pakistani, and many are interrelated villagers who try to recreate the conservative social atmosphere back home. A decade ago many girls were simply shipped back to their villages once they reached adolescence.

“Their families want them to retain their culture and not become Americanized,” said Roberta Wall, the principal of the district-run Independent School, which supervises home schooling in Lodi and where home-schooled students attend weekly hourlong tutorials.

Of more than 90 Pakistani or other Southeast Asian girls of high school age who are enrolled in the Lodi [California] district, 38 are being home-schooled. …

As soon as they finish their schooling, the girls are married off, often to cousins brought in from their families’ old villages. …

The girls follow the regular high school curriculum, squeezing in study time among housework, cooking, praying and reading the Koran. The teachers at the weekly tutorials occasionally crack jokes of the “what, are your brothers’ arms broken?” variety, but in general they tread lightly, sensing that their students obey family and tradition because they have no alternative. …

Aishah Bashir, now an 18-year-old Independent School student, was sent back to Pakistan when she was 12 and stayed till she was 16. She had no education there.

Asked about home schooling, she said it was the best choice. But she admitted that the choice was not hers and, asked if she would home-school her own daughter, stared mutely at the floor. Finally she said quietly: “When I have a daughter, I want her to learn more than me. I want her to be more educated.”

I am sickened by the plight of this poor, helpless girl. Read the article here.

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  1. This is a big problem in the making. Britain already has a more advanced version of the problem, for its Pakistani ghettos that isolate the females in their community.

    In America, this opens up a can of worms because many parents have worked hard to obtain the right to homeschool their kids, and I understand the desire for this right in a country that has so many problems in its public schools, but something has to be done to ensure that this abuse of females does not continue.

    Any ideas on how to deal with this?

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted March 27, 2008 at 2:57 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Jeffery, I simply don’t know. I have long thought that there need to be stronger incentives to assimilate as a condition of immigration; how about a law that says if you come to live here your kids have to go to school here? This still won’t do anything about the poor, abused children of native religious kooks who are kept home to be taught young-Earth creationism and similar superstitious tommyrot, but at least it would be something.

    Posted March 27, 2008 at 10:39 am | Permalink