Members of the Turkeyen Masjid are at loggerheads with clerics following their decision to have Muslim scholar Nezaam Ali, who has been charged with sexually abusing three young boys there, lead them in prayers.
Ali, of Lot 268 Section C 5 South, Turkeyen, appeared before Magistrate Alex Moore at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court on February 2 and was charged with sexually penetrating three boys under the age of 12. He was also accused of molesting several other boys and charges are still to be brought in these cases.
The mother of the boys at the centre of the case yesterday visited Stabroek News and expressed her disgust over the decision by the masjid’s clerics to allow the man to lead the congregation in prayers. “He start leading we in Tarabi Salat on Tuesday night and I see that with me own eyes,” she said.
She asked how the Imam could allow that given the charges that Ali faces.
The woman added that she along with several others had raised the issue with the masjid’s current Imam, however, they are yet to have an adequate explanation for the decision to allow Ali to lead them in prayers.
She said that members are so concerned at the decision that in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, they have forced themselves to stay away from prayers at the masjid.
Another member of the masjid, who declined to be named, stated that he is concerned about the path the masjid will be taking if it lets Ali continue to lead them in prayers.
When Stabroek News visited the masjid, it was told that the Imam was not available to speak and a later visit to the Turkeyen Muslim Association also proved futile.
The Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), the umbrella body, said that it has no jurisdiction over the masjid and as such it had “no comments to make over the matter.”
However, when the allegations were first brought into the public domain the CIOG, in a press release, stated that it had suspended Ali pending an investigation into the allegations.
It is unclear if the suspension is over, since the CIOG representative this newspaper spoke to yesterday, refused to verify that.
It is alleged the Ali sexually assaulted three boys under the age of 12 years between December 5 and December 31, last year, at ‘D’ Field Sophia.
It is alleged that he engaged in sexual penetration of the boys and was in the position of trust being a religious teacher and knew or reasonably could be expected to have known of the position of trust he held in relation to the boys.
The allegations against Ali came to light when the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) received an anonymous tip. Officials began an investigation and four boys, between the ages of 4 and 10, were identified. The police were informed of the situation and after the boys were medically examined, Ali was arrested.
The names of four others were also provided to officials of the CC&PA.
Three of the boys were found in a rural area and doctors confirmed that they had been sexually molested.