An Imam identified as Mohammed Haji Saddique, has reportedly been convicted for sexually assaulting little children who came to the mosque for Qur’an lessons.
The imam, 81, was said to be in the habit of calling the pupils to sit next to him and read in Arabic from the Muslim holy book and would then sexually touch the girls in front of his class and slapped students repeatedly if they made mistakes during lessons.
Saddique, who taught at the Madina mosque in Cardiff for more than 30 years, was convicted of the offences following a trial. A jury found him guilty of 14 offences – six indecent assaults and eight sexual assaults – that took place between 1996 and 2006.
Judge Stephen Hopkins QC jailed Saddique for 13 years and ordered him to register as a sex offender indefinitely.
“All four complainants were very brave indeed in overcoming not only personal but cultural barriers which they faced in making formal complaints and giving evidence against you. There is a darker, deviant side to you which this trial has exposed. This was a gross breach of trust – parents sending their young, female children to be taught the Qur’an by you,” the judge said.
“Saddique, who insisted the allegations were a conspiracy by other members of the mosque, had “no idea” of the harm caused by his actions, the judge added.
Police first launched an investigation in 2006 following complaints by two girls but Saddique denied any wrongdoing. The investigation was restarted in 2016 after two other girls came forward. Saddique would touch the girls under their traditional loose-fitting clothing during his lessons, and rub them against his groin and legs.
DCI Rob Cronick of South Wales police, said: “As a result of the verdict and today’s sentence I believe there may be members of the community who may now feel confident enough to speak to the police or our support agencies.”