Kids kept out of school to study Quran

Wasbank - Twelve children have been removed from an Islamic academy in Wasbank that is not allowed to house children, the KwaZulu-Natal social development department said on Monday.

MEC Weziwe Thusi's office said the children, aged between 12 and 17, were not attending school but were studying the Quran instead.

An Afghan girl learns to read the Quran, Islam's holy book, at a local Madrassa, or seminary, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013. Islamic seminaries in Afghanistan are generally considered a source of education for poor families and children whose families could not afford expensive fees of formal schools. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul). Credit: AP

Police asked social workers for help on Thursday, after two of the children escaped from the Sabalalisa Iqiniso Dawah Academy, which is a registered non-profit organisation.

Thusi said: “After spending hours at the facility they (the social workers) found clear contravention of the Children's Act and took appropriate action.”

The children were being held with six adults in a hall containing 10 bunk beds.

Social workers found that consent forms for the children had been signed by the children themselves.

The children were taken to two children's homes, where they would be kept until their parents had been contacted, Thusi said.

The department said an instructor from the academy was arrested, along with five youths found to be in South Africa illegally.

“We understand that this is not the only facility of its kind and our social workers will continue to work with the police in dealing with this matter,” Thusi said.