Saturday, 22 October 2011

Sabir Hussain, 60, pleads guilty to four charges of assaulting pupils at Markazi Jamia Mosque

... town’s MP is concerned at claims that checks on staff were paid for by council

Religious leaders say “massive changes” have been introduced at a mosque where a teacher was caught on camera hitting children.
Coun Abid Hussain, who is the senior vice-president of the Keighley Markazi Jamia Mosque Committee, claims mosque leaders have worked extensively with police, parents and council chiefs to improve practices since the abuse was exposed.
It comes after 60-year-old Sabir Hussain, of Spencer Street, Keighley, admitted four counts of assault at Bradford Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Coun Hussain said the mosque has worked hard to regain the trust of parents in the wake of the incident.
He said: “The changes in the mosque have been really fantastic.
“All the teachers have been through teacher training courses and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks. They have been taught how to work with children and how to educate them. The mosque is now very professional. Our teachers are very educated and speak English, Arabic and Urdu.”
Sabir Hussain was filmed hitting children at the madrassa, in Emily Street, in an undercover documentary shown on Channel 4.
The abuse is believed to have been committed last December.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said he believed CRB checks carried out on staff after the abuse was exposed were paid for by Bradford Council – although the Council would not confirm the details.
He said: “I understand that Bradford Council bore all of the costs associated with CRB checks at the mosque and that is not acceptable.The mosque raised significant amounts of money during Ramadan and it should use these funds to pay for such costs rather than depend on the public purse.”
Ward councillor Khadim Hussain (Lab, Keighley Central) hit back and said it was a small amount of money to safeguard children in future.
He branded Mr Hopkins comments “irresponsible”.
He said: “We need to balance the benefits against the short-term cost. Do we want to put children in danger or stop madrassas teaching altogether? Vital education is being provided by these institutions.
“They can play a key role in raising the attainment levels in Bradford and we need to provide teachers with fundamental training so we don’t hit the headlines with this kind of allegation again.”
A Bradford Council spokesman said it would not be appropriate to comment until the end of the case against Sabir Hussain. He is due to be sentenced on November 23.

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