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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 15 October 2018

Manchester Imam jailed for attacking pupils 109 times

Abdul Rauf believed his brutal methods were acceptable to discipline kids

An Imam who assaulted his young pupils over 100 times has been jailed for 17 months. Abdul Rauf, a 51-year-old from Rochdale near Manchester, was described as having used “Dickensian” ways to teach at a mosque where he slapped, kicked and tormented the boys as young as 9.

Initially the youngsters were too frightened to report Rauf. One victim said the Imam had called him a “gay boy” whilst beating him. The same child said on another occasion he was kicked and slapped - causing him to fall against a pillar.

The depravity of his offences were only revealed when one of the abused told his teacher he and a friend had been attacked. Over 40 hours of CCTV were reviewed by police and the footage showed 109 assaults by Rauf at the Dar-Ul-Munawar Ghamkol Sharif mosque. Police said they would work with the local Muslim community to prevent similar incidents happening in the future.

Father of five Rauf was sentenced after previously admitting to occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. The court heard Rauf felt his brutal methods were appropriate in Islamic teaching. His defence lawyer, Ahmed Nadim described by Nadim as showing “Dickensian attitudes towards teaching and feels a level or corporal punishment is appropriate….it is there that he went badly, badly wrong.”

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Inspector Phil Key from Greater Manchester Police said: “Abdul Rauf is a nasty, bully of a man who beat the children in his classes until it became normalised. The children were left cowering and holding onto their ears, their arms and their legs after he repeatedly used violence as a punishment.

“The parents of the children had no idea that they were leaving their children in the care of a man who would leave them writhing in pain and covered in marks and bruises. I dread to think how many children’s lives he has affected over the years, we are doing all we can to support those children and their families that we know about,” he added.

Gail Hopper, Director of Children’s Services at Rochdale Council, said: “The crimes that Rauf has been found guilty of show he is a coward and a bully who should never have been entrusted with the care of young children. We applaud the actions of those who bravely reported his crimes.

“We are asking parents and other adults to remain vigilant, ask the right questions and importantly, to listen and support children who tell them about things that have happened that shouldn’t. We all share responsibility to take action that effectively protects all children. If we fail to listen to children and address their concerns, they are likely to stop telling us when such things happen.”