“Surah Adiyat,” my friend says. “I still remember the surah [chapter of the Quran] I was reading when he touched me. I was 8 years old.”
I ask my friend to identify the paedophile who abused him but my friend is reluctant to do so as his abuser is now dead.
However, I manage to find out from him that it was someone prominent in the Wimbledon area in south west London, possibly connected to Wimbledon Mosque, who “taught” Quran to children some 40 years ago.
For those of who you don’t know, Sir Jimmy Saville was a children’s presenter on the BBC for almost 20 years from the 1970s to the 1990s.
He used to have a children’s show called “Jim’ll Fix It” in which young children would write in to him and he would fulfill their dreams.
At the time, Jimmy Saville was every child’s hero, an angel who would make their dreams come true. I remember writing to him as a young boy, asking him to “fix” a trip to Disneyland for me.
The Queen honoured him with a knighthood (the “Sir” title) and he won dozens of other awards and accolades.
After he died in October 2011, over 450 people came forward to testify that he had sexually abused them. It appeared that Saville wasn’t just fulfilling the dreams of the children, he was fulfilling his own dreams.
For years the BBC was aware of these allegations but they refused to take them seriously. They thought that by brushing the matter under the carpet it would disappear.
And it’s just as well that Saville never replied to my letter. Instead of Disneyland I might well have ended up in Thailand if Jim had agreed to “fix” my dreams.
So the subject of this week’s blog post is to warn against Jimmy Saville imams (or Jameel Savilles if you like). By this mean I mean paedophiles disguised as imams.
Before I continue I just want to add that a few readers feel uncomfortable when I talk about taboo subjects on my blog.
Some fear that talking about such things “gives a bad name to Islam infront of non-Muslims.”
I think it is important that we remember that Islam is not an anti-aging beauty cream which we have to “sell” and “beg” people to buy from us. Islam is sufficiently robust to protect itself from image or reputation problems.
People who mock the Quran or the life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) have been doing it for centuries, it isn’t something new. Yet it has still not prevented Islam from remaining the fastest growing religion in the world, especially in Western countries.
We should be careful to distinguish between criticism of un-Islamic practices of Muslims, and Islam.
We should be confident to talk about taboo subjects and problems that exist within the Muslim community because the first step in solving a problem is to admit that it exists.
If we brush these issues under the carpet and pretend that they do not exist, we prevent our community from growing and progressing.
During the years I was in prison in the UK there were many outwardly “devout” Muslim prisoners in the “VP” wings (living quarters).
Among them were Muslim clerics in prison for abusing children they were supposedly teaching the Quran.
“VP” is a prison acronym for “vulnerable prisoner”, which means paedophiles, rapists, rats and other prisoners who are vulnerable to being attacked by other prisoners because of the nature of what they have done.
In UK prisons, VPs live, exercise, work and associate completely separate to mainstream prisoners. When VPs move within the prison, they are cordoned off from mainstream prisoners. There is no contact between the two groups.
Rats (informants, grasses, snitches, etc.) are definitely bottom of the prison food chain because even paedophiles look down at rats and frequently attack rats in their wings.
While in prison I met a Muslim prisoner who told me that when his younger sister was 12, his mum used to send her for Quranic lessons with a man at a shop.
It turned out that the teacher had been touching her inappropriately.
When her brother (the prisoner telling me this story) found out he wanted to go to the man’s shop and smash his face in, but his mother prevented him because it would bring “be-izzati” (dishonour) upon their family.
And then some Muslim prisoners from Slough told me about the “mawlwi on a bike” – a man in Slough who used to go round to the houses of families on a bicycle to teach their children the Quran
It turned out that he was also inappropriately touching the children, inside their own homes when the parents were not looking.
In this case, the families were brave enough to believe their children and take action. This paedophile went to prison.
These are real stories about real people that happened to people that I know.
The reason I am unashamedly writing about this topic is because there is no room for paedophiles in our community. We should not be afraid to confront and stand up to paedophiles, whether they are prominent people in the community or not.
A minority of Catholic priests and Jewish rabbis are paedophiles and rapists, so that means that the majority are not.
Likewise, thankfully the majority of Muslim imams, clerics and Quranic teachers are also not paedophiles and rapists.
Paedophiles and rapists are most certainly not “men of God” so we have to protect our children from these monsters at all costs.
Here are three ways that might help to protect our children from these Jimmy Saville Imams.
1.Don’t live in denial and pretend that these things do not exist in the Muslim community.
In other words, don’t wait before it is too late and you psychologically damage your child for the rest of his or her life.
2.Prevention is better than cure
If you have young girls, send them to a female teacher to learn the Quran.
If you have to send them to a male teacher, make sure it is in a communal place where the children are never left alone with the teacher.
If the male teacher comes to your house, keep your child in your sight at all times. If he is genuine, he will not mind you keeping an eye on him.
If you cannot find a suitable teacher, consider online lessons via Skype or Facetime. Many families who successfully use this method.
3. Believe your child and do not be afraid to take action
Just like you can spot their lies about whether they pinched the biscuits or not, you can easily ascertain whether your child is making up a story as an excuse not to go to lessons, or whether it really happened.
If it turns out that something has happened, do not be afraid to take action to help protect other children from the monster.
Of course, sexual abuse is most certainly not a “Muslim” problem.
I myself was groped twice during my arrest in 2003 by London Metropolitan Police officers “working for a safer London.” None of my abusers were Muslims. You can read my story here.
I am not ashamed to tell the world why sexual abuse is wrong so that it does not happen to other people.
The NSPCC has an excellent guide to help parents keep their children safe from abuse both online and in the physical world.
Do you have a story to share about paedophiles disguising themselves as imams or Quranic teachers? Why don’t you share it below?
Do you have any more suggestions on how we can protect our children from these monsters?
You can read my story here.
Enter your email address in the mailing list form below to receive a copy of my blog post by email.
Thank you for discussing this taboo topic. It has been swept under the carpet for too long, destroying far too many lives. May Allah protect our children from such heinous acts.
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JazakAllah hu khair for talking writing about this topic. Not only Imams but the closest family members are monsters as well. There is nothing more sick then a pedophile.
I believe this is one topic that should be talked about in Muslim homes. Parents should educate there kids about it and there are numerous sources like; I said No! by Zack & Kimberly, I can play it safe by Alison Feigh, Do you have a secrert by Jennifer Moore etc. which can help teach kids and beware of these things.
May they have a special place in hell for these creatures.
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May Allah have a special place in hell for these creatures*
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May Allah guide them so they see the error of their ways and can repent asap.
We had a similar issue here in a local mosque in bham. The imam was sacked straight away but mosque committee did not involve police. I was worried he would go to another mosque and do something similar. However, he vanished so there was not much I could do and back then I was very young myself so I didnt know what to do.
Main thing is be aware of what’s going on. For girls always use a female teacher as its just safer or online.
I must also add that I have met and known Quran teachers who are an absolute asset and work for the love of Islam and to spread the actual message of the Quran.
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Thank you for sharing, of course most Quran teachers are not paedophiles and some surely are assets to the world, such as my teachers. As for that paedo you refer to, he probably fled to another mosque to continue to ply his trade. But His destiny will catch up with him regardless inshallah.
Many families of survivors of abuse within our Muslim community make the crucial mistake of keeping the crime a secret.
These vulnerable children go on to becoming broken adults, never having had receiving the closure they deserved. They have to painstakingly watch as many of these monsters are continually idolized on a pedestal, whilst they are left in turmoil. – Faith is tested, relationships are difficult, trust becomes impossible.
Sad thing is, many of the leading Ullama also advise that it is best kept quiet, like you mentioned in the post. However, I plead to families out there- if your child comes to you with something like this, you take it into your hands. Don’t wait for the child to grow into a broken adult and seek an outlet themselves. Ensure you get them all the help you can- counselling is a must and should not be overlooked.
Afterall- it’s much easier to build up a child than to repair an adult.
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A very important point, thank you. I agree, there should be zero tolerance for abuse.
I don’t agree with anyone who says that we should turn a blind eye to abuse. We should change this and make the world a hostile place for all abusers and oppressors.
Easy to say all they mate. Ask someone like me, indeed an irreparably broken adult whose not only mental peace but body has been permanently damaged due to abuse by a pedo Imam, what the reality is.
I cajoled and pleaded with his family and brother who said he would take action and they threatened my family. I didn’t want his family suffering for his crimes so I exhausted this avenue to the hilt. Only then did I go to Leicester police, who took no action , ignore me to this day , and allowed the pedo to move to Dubai to teach children there – and still freely some to the UK to visit.
Muslims have no sympathy at all in general and ad communities for chikd victims of sexual abuse. It’s only seen as dirty and something to be hidden because it’s the victim who has been made filthy. They are cowards who have no desire to go after criminals who abuse children so as to not disturb their cushy lives and reputations. Non Muslim police and orgs further victimise Muslim children who experience abuse by almost never taking action l. Meanwhile children do get called into PREVENT for making drawings of spaghetti at school .
Easy for you to say these things about seeking support. The reality is a world apart. There is no such support, only abuse and rejection . And because of this failing of ignorant, backward, utterly unislamic Muslim communities and leaders , thousands of Muslim children are being sexually abused and raped by erstwhile Muslim teachers with no consequence – because there ARE no consequences.
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I am very sorry to hear that, it is wrong. Definitely wrong for the police to ignore it.
But please do not think he has gotten away with it.
Allah is watching!
Allah doesn’t blink!
Allah will give you justice!
Well, I actually tried to expose my abuser – “maulana” Ahmad Ali Lunat of Leicester. His rich and powerful Imam family who control the Jame mosque and madrasah there threatened my family.
When I thereafter went to Leicester police, the Detective given the case DC Jamie Carr, ignkred all contact from e completely after going to visit and charge the pedophile dog of humanity Ahmad Ali Lunat.
Makes me think the Lunats are 100% MI6 ‘assets’.
In the end I am precisely the broken adult with no life or direction you describe and received precisely the lack of support, and indeed abuse, from the Muslim community you also describe. And the pedophile mullah of Leicester, his rich and powerful family, have won.
Muslims are a sad lot.
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