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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

UK: Muslim cleric assaulted boys at Stoke on Trent mosque

Mohammed Hanif Khan
A Muslim cleric has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two boys at a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent.
Mohammed Hanif Khan, 42, had denied charges of rape, attempted rape and sexual activity with a child.
A jury at Nottingham Crown Court found Khan, of Owler Lane, Sheffield, guilty of two counts of rape and one of sexual activity with a child.
The offences took place at the mosque on Capper Street between July and October 2009.
Khan has been remanded into custody and will be sentenced at a later date.
Religious education
The jury could not reach verdicts on other charges against the imam and were discharged from doing so.
Nottingham Crown Court heard Khan was imam of the mosque, where he led prayers and delivered religious education lessons to boys at evening classes.
Prosecutor Tariq Bin Shakoor had told the court one of the boys claimed in police interviews that he was singled out by Khan after evening prayer on several occasions.
He was assaulted in areas of the mosque not covered by CCTV, Mr Shakoor said.
The other boy was assaulted when he was an overnight guest at Khan's house, the jury heard.
In his defence, Khan said he had a close relationship with the boys because he tried to help them with their unruly behaviour.
'Exploited trust'
His lawyer, Robert Woodcock QC, asked him who had invited him to get involved in the families' business and he said it was mainly the boys' mothers.
Don Knapper, district crown prosecutor, said it was a case of abuse of young boys by a man who they and their families trusted.
"Khan was in a position of trust and exploited the access he was afforded as their teacher to abuse the boys," he said,
After the verdict, Det Insp Tim Martin from Staffordshire Police said it had been a thorough inquiry, and he realised the case had been cause for some "understandable concern" in the community.
There are other links to this story at BBC News.


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