Religious teacher jailed 16 months for molesting student

An Islamic religious teacher told his female student that she was a victim of black magic and molested the woman in a mosque while trying to "cure" her.

The man was then an accredited Islamic teacher under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme administered by the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis). He has since been struck off the scheme.

The 73-year-old offender was sentenced to a year and four months' jail yesterday after pleading guilty last month to a molestation charge.

He cannot be named because of a gag order to protect the identity of the 36-year-old woman, who was also a family friend.

Some time in 2015, he had started teaching Quran recitation to her and her friend in classes every Saturday afternoon in a classroom on the third floor of a mosque in central Singapore. The two women were the only students in that class, the court heard.

The pair were having their lesson on Aug 19, 2017, when the man told the victim out of the blue that someone might have used black magic on her due to a "grudge".

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Imaduddien told District Judge Carol Ling: "The accused said he treated the victim like a daughter and wanted to help cure her by chasing the jinx away.

 

"To that end, the accused told the victim to bring a knife and lime to class (the following) week. The accused also told the victim not to tell her family what he had told her."

The woman did as she was told and came to the mosque with her classmate a week later on Aug 26.

During the class, the man rubbed the lime on the victim's palms and claimed that there was "something" in her that prevented her from conceiving.

He added that he could treat her condition and told her classmate to leave the room. Once alone, the man asked the victim to fully expose her upper body and molested her when she complied.

DPP Muhamad said the woman later "came to her senses" and pushed her molester away. Soon after, the man called her friend back into the classroom and resumed the lesson.

After the class ended, the victim went to a homeopathy clinic for a second opinion on whether she was a victim of "black magic".

She alerted the police after the homeopathy practitioner said there was nothing wrong with her.

The man, who is out on $5,000 bail, was ordered to surrender himself at the State Courts on May 15 to begin serving his sentence.

In a statement, Muis said it does not condone the man's "reprehensible" actions which were "clearly not in accordance with the teachings of Islam".

It added: "His actions violated the code of ethics of the Asatizah Recognition Scheme, and he has been removed from the register and is no longer allowed to conduct classes on Islam in Singapore."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2019, with the headline 'Religious teacher jailed 16 months for molesting student'. Print Edition | Subscribe