A man from Nelson was jailed yesterday for grooming and sexually abusing a young girl.
Hamiza Ali, 19, of Elizabeth Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child and was jailed for two years four months and handed a five year Sexual Offences Prevention Order.
Mr Ali groomed and sexually abused a 12 year-old girl he met on Facebook in May 2011 after meeting with her on numerous occasions in the local area.
A local resident Sajid Mahmood told 5 Pillarz: “I didn’t know Hamiza personally, but I knew of him and saw him around the area. I don’t think the local community were aware of what he was up to. It’s disgusting and disgraceful, and once again this will give ammunition to far-right groups and right-wing politicians to point fingers at Asians and Muslims.”
Ali was arrested after an investigation was launched by Pennine Division’s Freedom Team, a unit which was set up to specifically tackle the sexual exploitation of young children in Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale.
Worshiper at Jamia Ghousi Mosque on Clayton Street, Nelson, Muhammad Younis told 5 Pillarz: “The Asian and Muslim community will have to take the brunt of this heinous crime. Non-Muslims in the wider British society must understand that these sexual crimes of grooming are against the teachings and principles of Islam.
“Rather the perpetrators hold western secular values and attitudes towards women and sex which leads to social immorality. If these criminals had upheld and valued Islamic teachings they would not have committed these offences.”
DS Sheralyn Melton from Pennine Division’s Freedom Team said: “We are committed to targeting those who pose a threat to our children and as a result we will always act quickly to arrest those involved. I hope this serves as a warning to those who try to groom children and teenagers online, that there is a chance we are watching you and if you do commit an offence you will be caught and put before the courts. People should be left in no doubt that, if they try to groom children in this way, we will find them and bring them to justice.”
DS Melton added: “We would advise parents to monitor the internet use of their children and reiterate the dangers of making new friends in chat rooms on the internet or engaging in conversations with people they do not know.”
Anyone who has concerns about contact their children have had via the internet should contact Lancashire Police on 101. Information about such activity can also be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111