Koran Teacher Jailed for Child Sex Abuse

Mohammed Haji Sadiq

Mohammed Haji Sadiq, an 81-year-old former Koran teacher, was found guilty of eight sexual assaults on a child under 13 by touching and six indecent assaults after a trial at Cardiff Crown Court. Those assaults happened during a decade between 1996 and 2006 at the Woodville Road mosque. Sadiq has been jailed for 13 years. In addition to his jail sentence, he was issued with a sexual harm prevention order and will have to register as a sex offender. He had denied the charges involving four girls aged between five and 11 and blamed "politics" in the mosque for the accusations.

During the trial, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC told Sadiq: “Children called you ‘uncle’ as a mark of respect. You are a man in my judgment of some cunning… Beneath the veneer there is a dark and deviant side.”

One victim said: “It started to feel like, it sounds a bit sad, it started to feel quite normal eventually…” Other victim said she had attempted to take her own life because of the abuse. The problem about people using their authority and position in the wrong way is very common in all areas of life and business; but when that position is being used for any kind of abuse, especially against children, it must be severely punished. A more important thing than the punishment itself is the prevention of such crimes by introducing more stringent control in these institutions.

A number of Sadiq’s victims reportedly said they couldn’t tell anyone about the abuse because of cultural and religious taboos. One girl said: “Due to my religion it was very difficult, almost impossible to tell anyone what had happened… In the Muslim religion we do not talk about personal matters.”

Mike Jenkin from the CPS said: "These women have shown remarkable courage in coming forward to speak about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Mohammed Haj Sadiq when they were young girls. Sadiq was a respected figure in the community with considerable influence and power which makes the bravery of his victims all the more admirable.”

A Muslim Council of Wales spokeswoman said: "We applaud the bravery and courage of the young women who now, as adults, pursued the case and pursued justice.” "All mosques in Wales now have Child Protection Policies in place, and teachers and volunteers alike are all vetted and closely monitored," she added.

Photo Credits: Zani Family of Cardiff

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