Illinois sexual assault allegations against revered Imam reveal insularity of some US Muslim immigrant communities

….but maybe times are changing!

***Update*** February 16th: the Imam has left the country!  (at Creeping Sharia)

This is a long story in the New York Times that you should have a look at.  The Islamic school, where the sexual abuse is said to have occurred, is described as having a “fundamentalist” orientation.

ELGIN, Ill. — Ordinarily, she never wore a veil. But it was required at the Islamic school where she worked, and she remembers being surprised when the head of the school, a conservative imam, suggested that she remove it and reveal her face.

Mohammad Abdullah Saleem

When the imam, Mohammad Abdullah Saleem, came into the office where she worked, she said, he would sometimes touch her cheek or put an arm around her shoulder. Mr. Saleem was revered in her close-knit community, and she did not object at first. But simply being alone together represented a forbidden intimacy, and looking back, she said those first gestures should have been more alarming.

“It’s not something that gets done,” the 23-year-old woman said recently. “Men and women don’t even shake hands.”

Over time, she said the touching became more aggressive, reaching a point that she did something almost unheard-of in her community. She told people: her family, a social worker, an Islamic scholar. Recently, she went to the police. As word spread of what she had told them, three other women came forward, telling detectives that as young girls they had been molested by Mr. Saleem.

[….]

The accusations are particularly jarring because of Mr. Saleem’s stature. “In the South Asian community, he is like Billy Graham. He’s the archbishop of Chicago,” said Omer Mozaffar, an Islamic scholar who serves as the Muslim chaplain at Loyola University Chicago and who acted as a mediator between Mr. Saleem and his first accuser last year.

Three cheers for the brave women who have stepped forward with information.

There is a lot more about this diversity is beautiful (not!) news, here.

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