Leeds & West Yorkshire

Sabir Hussain jailed for child assaults at Keighley mosque

A religious teacher who was caught on camera kicking and slapping children in a West Yorkshire mosque has been jailed for 10 weeks.

Sabir Hussain, 60, admitted four charges of assaulting boys at the Markazi Jamia Mosque in Keighley as they learned the Koran.

He was arrested after secret filming was shown on Channel 4's Dispatches.

Bradford magistrates heard Hussain, of Spencer Street, Keighley, assaulted boys aged between 10 and 13.

The court was shown clips from the TV programme, which was screened in February.

In one, Hussain is seen to walk up behind a line of boys sitting at prayer tables and kick one in the back.

District judge Sue Bouch said she had read a large number of character references about Hussain, with some referring to him as "firm but fair" and a "pillar of the community".

Image caption The court was told Hussain had an unblemished record at the time of the incidents

She told him: "It can be clearly seen on the footage that the children are flinching away from you.

"That suggests to me, Mr Hussain, that the children were fearful.

She added: "You were in a position of responsibility. This is a gross breach of trust."

Earlier, Shufgat Khan, defending, said Hussain used to be employed by the mosque but was working as a volunteer teacher at the time of the incidents.

He said his client had an unblemished record until these incidents, which happened on 7 and 13 December last year.

'Assaults avoidable'

Mr Khan said: "What he did was to chastise.

"He's accepted the force used to chastise was not reasonable. But it's a very different case from someone's gratuitous use of force against vulnerable people."

West Yorkshire Police said the investigation was supported by the Markazi Jamia Mosque along with Keighley Muslim Association and Bradford Council For Mosques.

Officers said they questioned why the production company that made the film did not report the assaults earlier.

In a joint statement, Ch Supt Ian Kennedy and Kath Tunstall, of Bradford Council's Children Services Department, said: "Since these events came to light, we have been working closely with residents and partners to put in place improved safeguards to protect children in religious and faith schools.

"Whilst we welcome the work of the production company that brought these offences to light we do question their decision to wait until a number had been committed before they contacted us.

"Some of these assaults would have been avoidable if we had been informed earlier and been in a position to take positive action sooner rather than later."

Hussain immediately lodged an appeal against his sentence but an application for bail was rejected.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites