Manchester imam found guilty of molesting woman

Hafiz Abbasi

A Manchester imam has been sacked after he was found guilty of molesting a woman.

The Manchester Evening News reports that Hafiz Abbasi, 32, was given a 12-month community order after he was found guilty of sexual assault during a trial at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court.

Abbasi, who was suspended from his post as an imam at the Minhaj-ul-Qur’an Central Mosque in Whalley Range, has now been sacked.

The court heard that the offences related to incidents in October 21 and 29 last year when Abbasi touched the woman’s buttocks on two occasions.

In the first incident, the court heard how he approached the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and deliberately brushed against her body for “five seconds or so.”

The Minhaj ul Quran mosque in Whalley Range where Abbasi worked
The Minhaj ul Quran mosque in Whalley Range where Abbasi worked

The victim was “very scared” and later felt his fingers on her buttocks. She said she froze and felt hot and very sick, and was “rooted to the spot” before summoning the courage to flee.

On the second occasion, the woman again met with Abbasi, this time accompanied by another man. But when the other man left, the woman felt Abbasi touching her “two or three times.”

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In an emotional victim impact statement read out in court, she said she been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.

She said: “You changed everything in my life. You tried to destroy who and what I am by your sick actions. You shattered my confidence and mentally and physically disturbed me.”

Speaking on behalf of the mosque’s trustees, Moazzam Raza said: “Minhaj-ul-Quran has very stringent policies relating to such cases and we take each case seriously. As soon as we received a complaint relating to Mr Abbasi and came to know of pending court proceedings we immediately set-up an internal investigation team.

“Understanding the nature of complaint and case, the investigation team decided to immediately suspend Mr Abbasi pending the court case. Now that Mr Abbasi has been found guilty and sentence has been issued, we have immediately dismissed him from any employment with Minhaj-ul-Quran.”

Abbasi, who was found guilty of two counts of sexual assault, was also ordered to complete 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,000 in compensation.

However, his solicitor indicated that Abbasi would seek to appeal the judgement.

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