Vold og overgrep

Islamlærer fengslet for vold mot barn

Britiske Channel 4 plasserte et skjult kamera i en moské i fem måneder. Resultatet var nedslående: systematisk mishandling av barn på koranskole. I går ble en islamlærer fengslet for volden, som skal være omfattende ved moskeer Storbritannia over.

Hege Storhaug, HRS

Den 60 år gamle Sabir Hussain er mannen som ble fengslet i går etter å ha blitt avslørt som overgriper av fjernsynskanalen Channel 4. Hussain sa seg skyldig i fire tilfeller av vold, mens tiltalen lød på 10 voldsforhold, melder Daily Mail Hussain har bodd i England siden 1967, men trengte tolk i retten.

Som rights.no fortalte ganske nylig, har også BBC avdekket utbredt vold ved koranskoler i Storbritannia. I løpet av tre år fant BBC at det er rapportert over 400 tilfeller av mishandling og seksuelle overgrep mot barn i britiske koranskoler. Få tilfeller ender i rettssystemet, samtidig som eksperter mener at de mer enn 400 rapporterte overgrepssakene bare er toppen av isfjellet. Politi og muslimske frontpersoner hevder at familier presses til taushet om overgrep mot barna sine og til å trekke tilbake anmeldelser. Over 250 000 barn i Storbritannia går på koranskoler.

Fengslingen i går er således en sjeldenhet.

An islamic teacher was jailed yesterday after being caught on a hidden camera kicking and hitting children during religious lessons in a mosque.

Sabir Hussain, 60, stood over the young boys as they sat on the floor and was secretly filmed kicking three in the back and repeatedly hitting one youngster forcefully with the back of his hand.

The ‘fearful’ boys, aged between ten and 13, could be seen flinching from the teacher, who was giving classes for Muslim pupils in reading the Koran at the Markazi Jamia Mosque, in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

He was exposed by the Channel 4 documentary Dispatches, in its programme Lessons In Hatred And Violence, which was broadcast in February and included footage of him assaulting some of the 19 boys.

Wearing traditional Islamic clothing, Hussain, at the time a voluntary teacher, can be seen walking around the class as the boys sat on the floor.

He is seen using considerable force to hit a child four times with the back of his hand as the boy cowers in fear.

Another sequence shows him kicking a boy in the back and then slapping him on the head. Two other sections of video catch Hussain kicking boys in the back.

Hussain admitted four charges of assaulting boys in December last year and was yesterday jailed for ten weeks.

He was originally charged with ten counts of assault, but the prosecution accepted his four guilty pleas.

Bradford magistrates were told the camera was recording in the mosque over a five-month period. District Judge Susan Bouch rejected pleas by his barrister to spare him a custodial sentence.

Shufqat Khan, defending, described him as a ‘pillar of the community’ known for being ‘firm but fair’.

But the judge, commenting on the victims, said: ‘They are small, vulnerable and they are young.’

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

‘That suggests clearly to me that the children were fearful. You are in a position of responsibility. This is a gross breach of trust. All of these factors make the offences so serious I can only pass a term of imprisonment.’

Hussain, of Keighley, came to Britain in 1967 and spent nearly 40 years as a textile worker. He required an interpreter in court.

An application to release him on bail pending an appeal was rejected by the judge.

After the case a statement from West Yorkshire Police and Children’s Services at Bradford Council welcomed the sentence but criticised the TV team for not reporting the offences earlier, saying: ‘Some of these assaults would have been avoidable.’

However Ann Cryer, the former MP for Keighley, praised the documentary team. She said: ‘This violence against children was going on under the nose of the mosque authorities.’