Do you think that a priest convicted of sexual assault would have gotten off with a similar slap on the wrist because of his long service to the Christian community? Neither do I.
A 69-YEAR-OLD Imam who lead prayers at a mosque in the Dudley area has been spared time behind bars after he carried out a sex attack on a vulnerable woman.
Mohammed Habibullah of St George’s Road, Dudley, had denied sexually assaulting the woman but he was convicted by a jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Ian Windridge, prosecuting, said that in a victim impact statement the woman described how she now felt anxious and nervous adding, “I now feel as though I have to have my guard up all the time.”
She said that after the offence committed on July 22, 2014, she was badly affected by stress and went on “When I think about what happened I feel sick”.
Simon Burch, defending, said Habibullah who had a number of medical problems including heart troubles and arthritis had worked extremely hard for the Muslim community.
Judge Amjad Nawaz told him: “You have not only let yourself down but you have let your community down.”
He stressed it was an extremely serious offence and said: “You gave evidence saying you simply would not have done what you did because it was Ramadan and you would not have had those thoughts.”
The actions of Habibullah, said the judge, had serious consequences for his victim who had been left “psychologically damaged”.
He added that before the offence it was clear Habibullah had been a man of “positive good character” who had given more than 25 years service to the Muslim community as an Imam but he had behaved inappropriately when he had been alone with his victim in a room.
Habibullah was given a six month jail term suspended for 18 months, placed on supervision for 18 months and told he must register as a sex offender for the next seven years.