An imam who sexually touched four young girls during Koran lessons at a mosque has been jailed for 13 years.
By JOHN TWOMEY
Mohammed Haji Saddique, 81, called children to sit by him and read in Arabic from the Muslim holy book.
He assaulted girls in front of the class and slapped pupils repeatedly if they made mistakes in lessons.
Cardiff Crown Court heard he had metal and wooden sticks to poke the students as they studied.
Saddique, of Cyncoed, Cardiff who taught at the Madina Mosque in the city for more than 30 years, was convicted of the offences after a trial.
A jury found him guilty of 14 offences – six indecent assaults and eight sexual assaults – between 1996 and 2006.
As well as the prison term, judge Stephen Hopkins QC yesterday 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,” the judge said.
“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 Koran by you.”