Victim of paedophile Imam who fled the UK warns other children could be in danger
****WANTED: Hafiz Rahman****
“OTHER children may be in danger,” those are the harrowing words of a woman who was sexually assaulted by an Imam who fled to Bangladesh before he could be jailed for his crimes.
Hafiz Rahman, who lived in Ballard Road, Netherton, fled the country in October last year, after being allowed bail during the course of his trial.
The 58-year-old sexually assaulted two young girls while they attended religious studies sessions at Dudley’s Queens Cross Mosque.
One of his victims, who goes by the name of Nabila Sharma to protect her identity, told the News she fears other children could be in danger while he is still at large.
She suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Rahman between the ages of seven and 11 and said she was relieved when he was sentenced to eleven-and-a-half years in prison, adding: “It felt great, that’s what I wanted.”
But her joy was short lived when she found out that Rahman had absconded, using a second passport to fly to Bangladesh.
“I was gobsmacked,” she said.
“After everything I had been through, he just walked out of the country. Someone messed up big time.
“I thought once we’d got the guilty verdict, that would be it. I wanted to move on but with him still being out there, I’m constantly reminded that he might be doing the same thing to other children and other children may be in danger.”
The 41-year-old said she has little faith that he would be found, adding: “Bangladesh is a big country but if anyone knows where he is, I’d urge them to come forward and tell the police.
“He is a dangerous paedophile and you don’t know what he could be doing. He needs to be brought back to face his sentence.”
Nabila, who has written a book about her experience, entitled Brutal, is now campaigning for places of worship to be inspected by Ofsted and those who work there to be DBS checked, to avoid others going through what she did.
Having been silent about her traumatic childhood years for some time, she said it was her “amazing” husband that gave her the courage to speak up.
“He encouraged me to go to a counsellor, who I discussed going to the police with,” she said.
“We spoke about the pros and cons and then I decided not to as it had been such a long time and I didn’t know his name or where he lived.
“Two weeks after the counselling session had finished, I was visiting a friend and I saw him walking down the road.
“That was a sign, I hadn’t seen him for more than 30 years. I knew he was still alive and well and I knew I had to go to the police.
“The whole trial made me a lot stronger and want to go out there and help others. That’s why I’m campaigning to make people aware that these things go on.”
To sign Nabila’s petition, visit http://www.getpetition.com/petitions/people-who-work-in-all-places-of-worship-must-be-dbs-and-ofs.