Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mosque leader accused

Mosque leader 'head-butted and shaved' after arrest over suspected sex abuse
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By jessica williams jessica.williams@thesentinel.co.uk

A MOSQUE leader charged with sexually abusing young boys was held down by three men and had part of his beard shaved off on the day he was arrested, a court heard.

Muslim minister Mohammed Hanif Khan claims he was head-butted by one attacker, held down and then had part of his beard and hair shaved off.

Imam Mr Khan told North Staffordshire Magistrates' Court that he was knocked to the floor by the head-butt from 31-year-old Mohammed Jameel at a property in Tunstall.

It is alleged that Jameel, Mohammed Nadeem and Mohammed Safir, who all live in Tunstall, then held down Mr Khan as he was shaved with electric clippers.

The court heard that shaving a Muslim's beard is regarded as a sin.

Jameel, of Furlong Road, and Nadeem, of High Street, deny assaulting Mr Khan by beating. Safir, of Plex Street, has admitted the same charge, but the basis of his plea is not accepted by prosecutors.

Philip Beardwell, prosecuting, told the court: "Mohammed Khan was one of the Imams at Capper Street Mosque in Tunstall. He is awaiting trial regarding the sexual abuse of two boys at the mosque.

"Mr Khan was approached from the side and head-butted by Mr Jameel causing him to fall to the floor. When he could not see what was going on a number of people hit and punched him.

"Mr Safir then used some hair clippers to cut some of his hair and beard off.

"He believed they wanted to disfigure him so he would not be able to show his face at the mosque."

Mr Khan told the court that he had taught at the mosque where he had been regarded as a "scholarly figure".

He said the men had confiscated his telephone and car keys during the attack and that he had seen a knife and a petrol can and feared they would be used.

He told the court: "Most of the comments were being said by Mr Jameel. Most of the actions were being done by Mr Safir, assisted by Mr Nadeem.

"Mr Jameel was saying 'You'll never be able to walk in Tunstall again'.

"I was in a state of shock.

"We believe that all messengers and prophets came into the world with a beard. To shave the beard would be a sin."

The court heard that following the alleged attack Mr Khan called mosque executive committee member, Mohammed Matloob, who persuaded him to go to Hanley Police Station to report the attack.

The three defendants were due to give their evidence today.

Yesterday the court heard that Jameel denies any part in the assault apart from snatching away Mr Khan's clothing as he left the building.

Nadeem, aged 28, and 32-year-old Safir said that Mr Khan had become aggressive after the child sex offence allegations had been brought up.

The trial continues.

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