Judge says assaults were a 'gross breach of trust'

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sabir Hussain Sabir Hussain

A religious teacher caught on camera kicking and slapping children in an undercover documentary has been jailed for ten weeks.

Sabir Hussain, 60, admitted four charges of assaulting pupils at the Markazi Jamia Mosque, in Emily Street, Lawkholme, Keighley, where he was teaching them the Koran.

Hussain, of Spencer Street, Keighley, was arrested after he was secretly filmed in a Channel 4 documentary earlier this year.

At a sentencing hearing at Bradford Magistrates’ Court yesterday, District Judge Sue Bouch accused Hussain of a “gross breach of trust” and said she had no option but to jail him.

The judge was shown video footage of Hussain kicking and slapping the boys, believed to be between the ages of ten and 13, on December 7 and December 13 last year, as they sat in a circle studying the Koran, before yesterday’s hearing.

Hussain’s barrister, Shufqat Khan, told the court the offences were out of character.

He said: “It was intended to be for chastising purposes – he accepts the force used was not reasonable.”

Mr Khan told the court that Hussain, at the time of the offences, had been asked to assist at the mosque where he had previously been employed.

He said character references referred to Hussain as a “pillar” of the community.

He said: “One thing which is a common theme among all of them – they refer to him having used no violence.”

Sentencing Hussain to ten weeks in prison, District Judge Bouch said there were a number of aggravating features.

She said: “I’m told these children are between the ages of ten and 13. They are small, therefore vulnerable, and they are young.

“As you walk around the room it can be clearly seen on the footage that the children are flinching away from you.

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

“The assaults comprise of kicking to the body and hitting while the children remained sitting on the floor and of course you are in a position of responsibility.

“This is a gross breach of trust. All of these features make the offences so serious that I can only pass a term of imprisonment.”

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