London, July 8 (IANS) A cleric has been jailed for 13 years reportedly for indecent and sexual assaults in England, the media reported on Saturday.
Mohammad Haji Saddique, an Imam at a mosque in Cardiff, used to teach Quran to children at the mosque. According to reports in the British media, he touched his female students inappropriately in front of his class and poked them with a stick as they studied.
Saddique, who had been teaching at the mosque for 30 years, was found guilty of eight counts of sexual assault and six counts of indecent assault. The assaults took place between 1996 and 2006.
A Cardiff crown court judge jailed him for 13 years and ordered him to be immediately registered as a sex offender.
An investigation was first launched against Saddique in 2006 when two girls accused him of sexual assault. However, it remained fruitless as Saddique denied the allegations. Investigation was reopened in 2016 when two more girls came forward and eventually led to his conviction.
Saddique, born in Hong Kong, would “touch the girls under their traditional loose-fitting clothing during his lessons, and rub them against his groin and legs,” the Guardian reported.
Praising the girls for their bravery, the judge lamented that the imam had “no idea” of the harm he caused to his victims. He expressed the hope that more people will come forward to report sexual assaults after the conviction.