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A UK Imam, Mohammed Haji Saddique, has been convicted and jailed for 13 years after he sexually harassed four young girls in a mosque.
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As reported the 81-year-old Cardiff cleric would often call girls to sit close to him and attempts caressing them with his touch while they make quranic recitations.
According to court reports, he also had metal and wooden sticks he uses in picking students that appease his sight during lessons.
Saddique was teaching at Madina Mosque in Cardiff for more than 30 years and was convicted of 14 offences which includes six indecent assaults and eight sexual assaults, all of which took place between 1996 and 2006.
Judge Stephen Hopkins sent Saddique for 13 years and ordered him to register as a sex offender.
“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 Holy Quran by you.”
The sentenced Saddique however refuted that the allegations against him were a conspiracy by other members of the mosque although the presiding discredited because former had “no idea” of the harm his actions had caused.
Saddique, born in Hong Kong, moved to Pakistan before he finally settled in Cardiff in 1967.
“You would attempt to maintain discipline and concentration by tapping or slapping the child sitting next to you who didn’t read correctly,” the judge said.
“Every time one of these small children made a mistake you would slap them until they got it right and slap them for every mistake they made.”
However, Saddqiue’s lawyer, Caroline Rees, described him as a “frail and unwell” great-grandfather whose community and family hold him in high esteem. “This is a man of 81 whose life expectancy is not good given his health and age,” she added.