Rochdale imam who bullied and beat children as young as 10 in religious classes jailed

Police say they do not know how many children Abdul Rauf beat over several years of teaching

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Monday 02 July 2018 19:50 BST
Abdul Rauf, of Sussex Street in Rochdale, has been jailed for one year and 5 months after admitting a series of attacks on children
Abdul Rauf, of Sussex Street in Rochdale, has been jailed for one year and 5 months after admitting a series of attacks on children (Greater Manchester Police)

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An imam who bullied and beat children as young as 10 in his Islamic study classes has been jailed.

Abdul Rauf, 51, admitted 21 separate charges but a judge at Manchester Crown Court took around 80 attacks into account.

Police said they saw evidence of “consistent assaults” on children recorded by a CCTV camera inside a mosque teaching centre in Rochdale.

They were alerted to the abuse by a report that two boys had been assaulted by Rauf in October last year and say they do not know how many victims have been affected in total.

Inspector Phil Key, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Abdul Rauf is a nasty, bully of a man who beat the children in his classes until it became normalised.

“The children were left cowering and holding onto their ears, their arms and their legs after he repeatedly used violence as a punishment.

“The parents of the children had no idea that they were leaving their children in the care of a man who would leave them writhing in pain and covered in marks and bruises.

“Rauf left the children intimidated and afraid to tell their parents about his bullying tactics.

“I dread to think how many children’s lives he has affected over the years, we are doing all we can to support those children and their families that we know about.”

Police said they were working with Rochdale Council, the local Council of Mosques and other partners to ensure children’s safety.

​“I would like to commend the bravery of those who came forward and spoke to police, I understand how difficult that must have been,” Insp Key said. “Rauf will never be able to hurt another child in his care, and that is all thanks to those who spoke out against him.”

Rauf, of Sussex Street in Rochdale, has been jailed for one year and 5 months after admitting actual bodily harm against two boys aged 10 and 12 and a further 19 assaults on unidentified children.

Gail Hopper, the director of children’s services at Rochdale Council, called Rauf’s treatment of children “reprehensible” and said the authority was enforcing safeguarding responsibilities in unregulated groups.

“The crimes that Rauf has been found guilty of show he is a coward and a bully who should never have been entrusted with the care of young children,” she added.

“We are asking parents and other adults to remain vigilant, ask the right questions and importantly, to listen and support children who tell them about things that have happened that shouldn’t.”

Rauf is a different defendant to 49-year-old Abdul Rauf, formerly of Darley Road in Rochdale, who was convicted as part grooming gang that targeted girls as young as 13 in the town.

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