A former Koran teacher at a Cardiff Mosque accused of sexually assaulting children in his care was described as ‘very touchy feely’ by one of his alleged victims.
Mohammed Haji Saddique, who’s 81, faces 15 charges of assaulting 4 children over a ten year period at the city’s Madina Mosque.
This morning, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC, began summing up the trial at Cardiff Crown Court. He’s expected to send the jury out this afternoon to begin considering its verdicts.
The judge reminded the jury of 7 women and 5 men of the evidence given by the first complainant, who’d started attending the mosque aged 6.
In a police interview, she described how the environment in Koran class – attended after school by 20-30 children – was ‘erratic.’
She said Mr Saddique had touched her inappropriately, adding:
‘I knew it was wrong even at that age. But because he was nice I didn’t think anything of it.’
The complainant said she’d eventually told her sisters when she was 20 or 21.
The judge then moved onto the evidence of the second alleged victim, in relation to whom Mr Saddique faces three charges of inappropriate touching.
The complainant, now an adult, told police that he’d touched her chest ‘every day for a year’ by when she was 7 or 8.
She said she’d found it embarrassing to talk about at the time, because of ‘limitations’ in what can be talked about in Pakistani culture.
She added: ‘It’s difficult to talk about such things if you’re a Muslim.’
Earlier in the trial, Mr Saddique’s defence barrister, Caroline Rees, told the jury that Mr Saddique was ‘a soft target’ by those involved in an ‘ongoing dispute’ at the Madina mosque - which has since burned down.
She also asked the jury to consider why no other classmates had seen the alleged abuse taking place.
Ms Rees told the court: ‘The most striking feature of this case is that there are no witnesses. Surely at least one person would have been able to see something.’
Mohammed Haji Saddique denies 8 counts of assaulting a girl under 13 by touching, and 7 counts of indecent assault of a girl under 14.
The case continues.