Sheffield Imam denies mosque rape charge

A MUSLIM worship leader from Sheffield allegedly repeatedly raped a young boy attending a mosque for religious lessons, a court has heard.

Mohammed Hanif Khan, aged 42, of Owler Lane, Grimesthorpe, is alleged to have sexually assaulted the boy, who was 12 years old at the time, inside a mosque in Stoke-on-Trent, where he was employed as the Imam.

He is also charged with the attempted rape of and sexual activity with the boy's cousin, who was 15 at the time.

Khan, who appeared at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday, spoke only to confirm his name and to enter not guilty pleas.

He is charged with three counts of rape, four counts of attempted rape and one count of sexual activity with a child, all of which are alleged to have taken place between July 1, 2009 and October 16, 2009.

Opening the case, prosecutor Tariq Shakor Khan told the jury that in police interviews in October 2009 the 12-year-old boy, who cannot be named, said he was singled out by Khan following evening prayer on about half a dozen occasions.

He claimed Khan used to ask him to lay out his red prayer mat in a different part of the mosque.

The prosecutor said the boy told police officers Khan would ask him 'Do you want some?' before the alleged abuse and when he said no the defendant would say 'For God's sake, just say yes'.

The youngster, who is now 13, said the abuse went on for around two months before finally coming to an end in October 2009, shortly after the youngster told his father about the incidents.

He said the family then became concerned about his cousin when he was reluctant to attend the mosque.

The court heard that when the 12-year-old boy's family approached his cousin, who is now 17, about the defendant, he said: "He tried to take my trousers down."

The trial continues.

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