Some kids in refugee camp in Chad learn Quran at whip’s lash

A young boy cries after being inadvertently hit in the eye by the teacher’s whip as young girls recite verses of the quran in a makeshift madrasa in the Zafaye refugee camp, some 15 kms (10 miles) from downtown N’djamena, Chad, Wednesday March 11, 2015 (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

CAMP ZAFAYE, Chad (AP) — In Chad, children in a camp for Muslim refugees who fled sectarian violence in neighboring Central African Republic learn the Quran the hard way.

About 30 young girls and boys, sitting on chairs on separate sides of the makeshift classroom, loudly recite verses of the Quran. The teacher, in his late teens, walks among the pupils, holding a leather whip by its wooden handle. The girls all wear head scarves.

A pupil who doesn’t recite the holy words loud enough is punished by a lash. A mistake is punished by a lash. A moment of inattention gets a lash.

The devout parents send their children to the madrassa despite the corporal punishment. The madrassa, shaded from the blistering sun by the wall of a building and a concrete roof, is unofficial. A regular school under a white tarp has formally been set up elsewhere in the camp…