Teachers at Islamic school jailed for beating boy, 10


Islamic school teachers who beat a 10-year-old pupil so brutally he started losing his hair with worry have each been jailed for a year.

Mohammed Siddique, aged 60, and his 24-year-old son Mohammed Waqar were sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today after admitting wilful cruelty to the boy during lessons.

Judge Mark Wall QC told the pair he had considered suspending the jail term but "it would not be right to do so", adding a message must be sent that such "brutality" could not be tolerated.

He said: "This is not a case where you each overreacted only once to provocation, neither is it a case in which you misunderstood what constitutes proper punishment and therefore requires some guidance from probation services as to where that boundary lies.

"Added to that, there must be no mistake about the message taken from this case.

"Acts of brutality of this sort which you each indulged in, with a stick, will not be tolerated."

Their victim was beaten with a plastic stick and given back-handed slaps by each of his tutors for "talking in the classroom" or not doing his work at Sparkbrook Islamic centre, attached to the Jamia Mosque, in Anderton Road, Birmingham.

The assaults happened on four separate occasions.

Photographs of the boy's injuries showed "extensive" bruising to the back of his legs.

Sam Forsyth, prosecuting, said the men's actions came to light when the brave youngster confessed to a learning mentor at his school.

The boy also told police "Waqar would call him names like 'paedo'," in the classroom, Miss Forsyth added.

She said the victim became so upset by what was happening to him, he started to "lose hair".

The punishments were given by both teachers for perceived short-comings in the boy's efforts during religious lessons, including learning the Koran.

Judge Wall told the men: "The use of a weapon with which to hit a 10-year-old is, and was known by you both, to be wholly unacceptable in this day and age."

He added: "You each assaulted him twice, once each by slapping him with your hands, and once each by hitting him with what has been described as a plastic stick.

"In all you're responsible for four separate assaults on him.

"These assaults would follow on from him talking in class or failing to read the Koran accurately.

"These assaults were committed by you in breach of a significant degree of trust placed in you by his parents and those who run the school.

"That you each assaulted him twice, in similar ways, leads me to conclude that between you, you must have decided this was an appropriate way to act towards recalcitrant children.

"These were not assaults committed in ignorance of how inappropriate it was to use corporal punishment such as this."

The judge praised the boy for having "found the courage" to tell someone about the attack, triggering a police investigation and bringing his ordeal to an end.

Reading a victim impact statement, Miss Forsyth said: "He describes how this has had a great effect on him, causing him to lose hair as he was getting very stressed.

"When he was bruised he would try and hide them with clothing even in very hot weather and make excuses not to go to the centre, such as having tummy ache.

"He would get very upset about small things."

The men's barrister Charanjit Jutla said both were men of good character and deeply regretted their conduct.

He added: "Past students and other professionals speak exceptionally highly of both defendants."

Siddique, who has been teaching for 30 years, is also the mosque's imam according to supporters who had turned up to court for the result.

Worshippers from his local mosque said Siddique was "a polite gentleman", while former pupils described him as a good teacher.

Nowroz Uddin, who has known him 25 year, said: "We're all in shock.

"I pray behind him at mosque.

"I have never heard a bad word said about Mr Siddique, he's always been a polite gentleman."

Former pupil, Miah Khan, said: "I studied there for 10 years, and he was my teacher, so this is quite a shock.

"There were times when I mucked about and he shouted at me, but I never saw him hit me or another boy in the class."

A restraining order was made banning either men from contact with the victim.

Mr Wall said he had no doubt the "relevant authorities" would make an order barring the men from teaching in the future.