November 2010

Respected Muslim cleric jailed after molesting 15-year-old girl who he was supposed to be teaching the Qur’an


A Muslim cleric has been jailed for a year after sexually assaulting a young girl while he was meant to be teaching her the Qur’an.

Hafiz Rahman, 67, was paid by families to teach their children after stepping down as a respected Imam.

He went to the 15-year-old victim’s home and molested her when they were left alone.

A judge described the attack as the ‘worst breach of trust imaginable’ and said he believed it would have continued if the girl’s father had not unexpectedly returned home.

A jury of eight men and six women at Portsmouth Crown Court took less than two hours to find Rahman guilty of sexual activity with a child.

Rahman, a former Imam at Jami Mosque in Portsmouth, Hampshire, is a Hafiz – someone who has memorised the entire Qur’an.

Judge Roger Hetherington said: ‘The parents of the child came to retain your services because they understood that you were a respected and indeed revered member of the community, who had, until recently, been an Imam to the mosque.

‘On the jury’s verdict and on abundant evidence, for whatever reason, you took advantage of that situation for your own sexual gratification.

‘It must have been a very frightening experience for that girl.

‘Given your position in the Muslim community and the respect with which you were accorded as a result by the family that you were visiting, this was as bad a case of breach of trust as it is possible to imagine.

‘I accept that for all your life apart from this incident you have behaved properly and you may well have done many good things to other people during your life.

‘Nevertheless this was a terrible lapse on your part.’ 

Stephen Smyth, defending, said Rahman had lost his standing as a respected member of the community, following the attack on December 27 last year.

He said: ‘This means it will be over for him and he will be deported.

‘Everything goes and he has to go back to a Muslim country convicted of what he is convicted of, which will be very seriously regarded.

‘He has nothing to look forward to in his life.’