Ali Akbar, a national award-winning Malayalam film maker, has revealed that he was sexually exploited by an ustad (tutor) at a religious school he attended 40 years ago. The madrasa in question is in the Wayanad district in Kerala. Recently, VP Rajeena, a Kerala-based journalist, had made shocking revelations on Facebook about how an ustad used to sexually abuse her class mates when she was studying at a madrasa.
Ali Akbar’s allegation challenges the claim of Sunni Muslim leader Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musliyar that madrasas in Kerala are free from sexual abuse. The madrasa where Ali Akbar studied was run by Kanthapuram Musliyar. “I am ready to give details of the molester if Musliyar is willing to look into the issue. He should decide whether to investigate the issue or not. So far, there has been no response from him or his followers”, Ali Akbar told Silverscreen.in. “It’s scary to see how fearlessly these religious leaders challenge provisions in Indian constitution, and get away with it”, said the director. Musliyar had, a few days ago, said gender equality was un-Islamic, and women were fit only to deliver children. “Many Hindu customs like Sati were abolished as they are regressive. But one can’t do similar things with regressive Islamic laws”, Akbar said.
The film director said that he stopped attending madrasas after the incident. He did not send his children to them either. “I am married to a Christian, and I never sent my kids to a madrasa. My fight against religious extremism started long ago. A section of people call me un-Islamic on social networking sites. I am not scared of them”, he said. Akbar also added that only scriptwriter TA Razak from among the Mollywood film fraternity reached out to him after the issue broke out.
Ali Akbar has directed around 20 films, including popular ones like Junior Mandrake and Pai Brothers.