An 81-year-old imam has been jailed for 13 years for sexually assaulting young girls during Koran lessons at a mosque in Wales.
Mohammed Haji Sadiqque was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault and eight counts of sexual assault on four girls aged between five and 11 years old.
The assaults took place between 1996 and 2006 at the Madina mosque in Cardiff where Sadiqque taught for more than 30 years.
An investigation was launched in 2006 when two girls came forward with complaints against the imam. He denied the allegations and the investigation was shelved until 2016 when it was restarted after two more victims came forward.
DCI Rob Cronick speaks to reporters after conviction of Mohammed Sadiq of sexual assaults on young girls. If you are a victim cal us on 101 pic.twitter.com/dSLWAEt4aL
— South Wales Police (@swpolice) June 15, 2017
Mike Jenkin, a spokesperson for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “These women have shown remarkable courage in coming forward to speak about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Mohammed Sadiqque when they were young girls.
“Sadiqque was a respected figure in the community with considerable influence and power, which makes the bravery of his victims all the more admirable.
“The evidence given by these women meant the prosecution was able to present a compelling case to the jury, resulting in the guilty verdicts.”
A jury found Sadiqque guilty in June and he was handed his sentence on Friday. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing and claims he is the victim of a conspiracy by other members of the mosque.
Calling the abuse “a gross breach of trust,” Judge Stephen Hopkins QC ordered Sadiqque to register as a sex offender indefinitely, The Guardian reports.
“There is a darker, deviant side to you which this trial has exposed,” Judge Hopkins said. “This was a gross breach of trust – parents sending their young, female children to be taught the Koran by you.”