As reported by the Metro newspaper, a 6-year-old boy died in a Islamic Centre in South London after choking on a snack.
The staff in the Mosque were not adequately trained in first aid. An inquest was told the Mosque did not have a defibrillator and despite efforts from staff and paramedics he could not be resuscitated.
Yunis Malik Hadi was waiting to be picked up after a Sunday School programme at the Mosque when he choked on a snack and collapsed. Paramedics rushed him to a nearby hospital but Yunis never regained consciousness.
We must both mourn the loss of a child, while using this situation as a lesson, prevent it from reoccurring.
It is important to note that Mosques with Madrassah programmes host children for up to 2 hours a day as an after school supplementary educational activity, seeking to improve their knowledge of deen and dunyah (Faith and Life skills).
In a situation where so many children are contained for the purpose of education, it is absolutely essential that they comply to similar if not the same policies and procedures of health and safety that a school or any other after school club does.
One aspect of the many practices religious subsidiary schools must implement, the presence of designated first aiders on site at all times to avoid dangerous and detrimental situations is essential.
Faith Associates, consultancy developed to encourage good governance of Mosques has developed both a self- assessment and an external assessment to ensure that Mosques are complying to essential policies and procedures, covering the presence of first aiders, correct procedure of recruitment and safeguarding of children against abuse and neglect.
The Risk Assessment is a 41-point check looking at:
– Policies, strategies and procedures to ensure welfare of children
– Monitoring and evaluation
– Recruitment and vetting
– Training provision
– Reporting concerns
– Abuse and neglect
– Missing children
Faith Associates has developed the Beacon Mosque Standards (BMS) to help grade mosques and set a bench mark of quality in these institutions. The Beacon Mosque Standards which have been developed in the UK but are now being applyied globally are having an impact in upgrading the safety and security of the facility and the workshipers who us it. keeping children and all vulnerable people safe in the Mosque should be of paramount importance, I hope from this tragedy Mosques and Madrassah begin to develop a culture truly in keeping with the spirt of caring and protecting the weakest amongst us.