Mosque leader found guilty of sexually assaulting young girls he taught in Koran studies
An imam who taught the Koran at a Cardiff mosque has been found guilty of sexually and indecently assaulting young girls he taught.
Mohammed Sadiq, 81, was convicted by a jury of six counts of indecent assault and eight counts of sexual assault on a child under 13, which he carried out at the Madina Mosque in Cardiff between 1996 and 2006.
He was found not guilty of one count of indecent assault, following a trial at Cardiff Crown Court .
The former teacher denied he had carried out the assaults, claiming that the allegations had been made up by the four complainants due to an internal row in the mosque between two factions.
Sadiq, who was joined by his family in the public gallery, made no emotion as the verdicts were read out.
"Sentence passes custodial threshold"
His barrister Caroline Rees told the court the defendant had "significant" health problems and was due to have eye surgery which had been cancelled.
Although she accepted that Sadiq was facing a custodial sentence, she asked the court to adjourn sentencing for a pre sentence report to be carried out.
Judge Stephen Hopkins QC told Sadiq who, remained emotionless in the dock, that he would let the defendant have bail so he could sort out his affairs.
He said: "The jury have found you guilty on, in my opinion, the most compelling evidence that you indecently and sexually assaulted children when you were supposed to be teaching them the Koran.
"The sentence passes the custodial threshold."
Sadiq was granted bail to appear at the same court on Friday, July 7, for sentencing.
"These women have shown remarkable courage"
Following the verdict 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.
“The evidence given by these women meant the prosecution was able to present a compelling case to the jury, resulting in the guilty verdicts returned today.”
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Cronick of South Wales Police said: "Mohammed Sadiq abused his position of trust within the community he served.
"Today's verdict shows the magnitude of Sadiq's offending and the devastating effect this has had on his victims.
"These four young women have shown immense courage in coming forward and telling us about the abuse they suffered and enduring the further anguish of a crown court trial.
"As a result of today's verdict I believe there may be members of the community who may now feel confident enough to speak to the police or our support agencies.
"Anyone with any information concerning this matter or who may have any other concerns should call a dedicated NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 where specially trained staff will talk to you and offer support.
"Alternatively you can call South Wales Police on 101 quoting the reference: 1600442164.
"Investigating sexual violence is a priority of South Wales Police and may I provide reassurance that all allegations of non-recent sexual abuse will be investigated.
"There are also a number of support agencies available to anyone who wishes them to be their point of contact if they have any concerns. South Wales Police can sign post victims directly to them.
"Our priority is to keep victims, and potential victims safe. We are committed to helping the vulnerable and have dedicated teams to help and support anyone who may have been affected by this investigation or any other circumstance."