Aida Zabidi
The news regarding the Malaysian couple detained in Sweden for alleged child abuse is confusing to say the least. One barely knows where to make head or tail of the situation, and it doesn’t help that the Malaysian media is full of sensationalism. Articles are springing up everywhere, backing the couple, condemning the couple, condemning the children – while the trial goes on and the children suffer. 

I detest the fact that the Malaysian media is handling this case so poorly. While naturally there is a bias towards the case, it is important to present the facts in an orderly manner. The sensational headlines do nothing but paint one party badly versus the other – in this case, either the children are made out to look like uncaring defensive children, or the parents are made to seem to like cruel child abusers. 

At the end of the day, there are many aspects to this story, like many others, it is one that spans many layers, and involves the whole lives of the family. There must be a real story, a middle ground. 

While Malaysians are raising arms to protest the jailing on the grounds of cultural belief; a belief that children should be disciplined by the parents as seen fit, one has to remember that the couple of on Swedish soil, and therefore under Swedish law. Actually scratch that. The Child Protection Act is international, and a responsibility to anyone who is a witness to report the crime – and this is a law that applies all over the world, regardless of nationality. Malaysia as a country has also ratified this law, and hence must uphold it. 

In this situation, it is essential to protect the identity of the children – they are still minors, and they shouldn’t have even been allowed to be giving press statements in the first place. How is it that the Malaysian media has so freely put up names, and photos, easily condemning these children to the discrimination of the public, a public which doesn’t even know what the true story is. It is not just an invasion of privacy, it is borderline dangerous. 

This is not uncommon practice here, there have been other instances where the media has so easily shared essential information regarding identity of children in previous cases – to what effect? Generate buzz, and therefore sales? While these reporters and the folks at the news may be able to go ahead happily with their own lives, these children are being subjected to the indignation of strangers – just because we allowed it to happen. 

I do not know the real story. Perhaps the public might never know. I do, however, urge Malaysians and the media to act with a bit more prudence with their actions – sensationalizing the story is not going to affect the outcome at the court case, and the children have to live their whole lives based on the outcome of this case. It will not help to call out against the condemnation of these children. 

I don’t believe that it is justified to physically beat a child. Even in Islam, there are specific rules and ways of punishment – physical abuse is not one of them. For all those who are claiming that children should be allowed to disciplined by their own parents, there is always a limit – the parents as caregivers must also know the correct way of disciplining behaviour. 

At the end of the day, I wish for the best outcome for both parents and children. Allah is just, and the truth will be clear, in the Hereafter if not in this world. It is not our place to judge and condemn, least not without knowing the facts.
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