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Imam pleads guilty to assault and sexual assault

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A mosque in Sydney’s south-east has been ordered to pay $13,000 in damages to the family of a young man who was allegedly assaulted at the premises.

The mosque, Imam Sammamisha Masjid, pleaded guilty in court to four counts of assault and three of sexual assault after the court heard the 27-year-old was punched, kicked and restrained by two men during a dispute at the Masjidi Islamic Center on September 16 last year.

In a statement, Imam Masjideen said he did not understand the reason behind the assault, but he was “pleased” by the decision to accept a guilty plea.

“My intention was to make it as difficult as possible for the perpetrators of the offence to re-offend,” he said.

“As a Muslim, I am also pleased that the court was able to accept the plea agreement.”

In a victim impact statement read out by counsel for the family, the victim said he was in pain after being kicked and hit by the two men who were believed to be part of a group of “rough-housing” men who had been at the mosque since August.

“The only thing I can think of is I am not going to get a break,” the man said.

The man said he has been told by the Masseeds that the group is now on their way back to Australia.

“I hope the perpetrators realise that the punishment is the only way to make sure they stop doing it again,” he added.

“It’s an act of hate that will bring shame to our community.”

The court heard that the men left the mosque on the same night and the victim had been walking home from work when they confronted him and the two other men.

“They were very aggressive,” the victim’s father told reporters outside the court.

“He was walking down the street with a young girl with him and they had a discussion.

They said to him, ‘Don’t do this to your sister, you’re a disgrace’.”

The father said his daughter had a “tough heart”.

“The fact that she is alive to tell her story and to see that her family is still standing by her side shows that the community cares,” he told reporters.

“She was very upset.

The pain that she went through is the worst that you can imagine.”

Imam Sammameen said in a statement he was not aware of any other religious groups or institutions that have faced similar assaults.

“When I hear that there are others in this community who have been subjected to the same sort of behaviour I have, I feel disgusted,” he wrote.

“This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable and should never be tolerated in a Muslim community.”

Imra Masjides father said he had not heard from his daughter since the incident and was concerned that she was not returning to the mosque.

“You are going to suffer and have to live with the consequences of your actions for the rest of your life,” he pleaded.

“There is no hope for your family.”

Imran Masjadeen has been granted bail while he awaits sentencing.

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