Courtesy of a Daily Mail Reporter
Islamic Teacher Who Sexually Abused Girl, 11, As He Taught Her The Koran Spared Jail Because His Wife Doesn’t Speak English
- Suleman Maknojioa, 40, squeezed girl’s chest under her prayer scarf
- Attacks took place as he gave lessons in Arabic to girl and her brothers
- Father of six convicted of five counts of sexual activity with a child
- He was handed a suspended sentence after judge told family rely on him
Spared prison: Islamic teacher Suleman Maknojioa sexually abused a young girl as he taught her the Koran
AN Islamic teacher who repeatedly molested a terrified girl of 11 as he taught her the Koran has escaped a jail sentence because his wife’s English is so bad.
Suleman Maknojioa, 40, repeatedly rubbed the youngster’s leg and reached under the folds of her prayer headscarf to touch her chest.
He was given a suspended sentence because the court heard the father of six’s family were so dependent on him and he is ill with kidney problems.
Maknojioa was supposed to be giving the girl and her two brothers private tuition.
He was said to have favoured the girl and claimed the touching was done to reassure her.
But his confused victim became terrified whenever lessons were due.
He was finally reported to police after the children’s mother overheard her two sons, aged 13 and seven, talking about the incidents.
Maknojioa was a respected hafiz – a scholar of the Koran.
On the day he was arrested he was due to teach 30 children at a mosque near his home in Blackburn.
He was later convicted of five counts of sexual activity but on Monday he escaped with a 40-week prison sentence suspended for two years.
A family friend condemned the sentence. ‘This is a total disgrace,’ said the friend, who asked not to be named.
‘What type of message does this send out to paedophiles? He should be behind bars for this type of abuse. We are all horrified.’
Preston Crown Court was told Maknojioa had been engaged by the children’s parents in 2012 to teach them about the Islamic faith up to three times a week at their home in Lancashire.
In September that year the girl and her two brothers started tuition of the Koran in Arabic in their living room.
Teacher: Maknojioa rubbed the 11-year-old’s leg and reached underneath the folds of her prayer headscarf to squeeze her chest whilst giving her and her two brothers private tuition in Arabic
The court heard she was better at her lessons than her brothers, who were often told off. Maknojioa began touching the girl’s arms and head, then moved to her legs, feet and chest and her thigh.
The girl claimed that the touching typically occurred as she prayed or read from the Koran while kneeling or sitting cross-legged.
She told the jury: ‘I was too afraid to say something. He would put his hand under my headscarf on my chest and he would squeeze.
‘He would only use the one hand. The other hand would be writing something or he would be pointing to my brothers and telling them to pray harder.
‘No matter how hard my brothers tried to pray it wasn’t good enough. He would always say I was better, even if I wasn’t.
Convicted: Maknojioa was found guilty of five counts of sexual activity with a child
‘My brothers asked me what he had been doing and I didn’t know how to describe it. I told them he had touched me up. They told me to tell Mum and Dad – but I just didn’t want to tell anyone.
‘It went on for ages, his hand going up and down. I was afraid of what my teacher would do.’
Her older brother said: ‘I knew what was happening for about a month before my parents. My sister would get very upset at the idea of anyone knowing.
It was difficult for me to know what to do. He favoured her. He would give her ten pages to learn and we would only get three.
‘That way he spent most of the lesson with her. He did it slyly. When it happened, she was trying to pray. I have seen him touching her thigh in a stroking motion. It was inappropriate.’
This went on from September 2012 to June 2013 until the course of lessons ended. The girl’s father later confronted Maknojioa at his home but he denied all the charges.
Frida Hussain, defending, said: ‘He is married with six children. His wife doesn’t work and speaks very little English, they are dependent on him to lead their lives and with the running of the household.
‘One of the children has learning difficulties. Because he doesn’t teach now he is reliant on benefits.’
Judge Michael Byrne told Maknojioa: ‘The parents invited you into the sanctity of their own home. They trusted you and left you with their children.
‘I have read a letter from the girl in which she sets out her initial confusion at conduct of this sort from one…who she and her brother were expected to trust.
‘The older brother felt he wasn’t able to protect his sister. She was of a tender age, young, vulnerable and impressionable.
‘There could be no greater recognition of trust than between a minister of religion and pupils whose care is entrusted to him by parents.
‘You breached that trust deliberately and repeatedly.’
Maknojioa will be under supervision for two years and made the subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for ten years.