Source: Houston Chronicle
A Quran teacher found guilty of sexually assaulting three of his students has been sentenced to 35 years in prison for his crimes.
Mohammed Omar Ali, a 61-year-old religious leader in the close-knit Muslim Somali community, was found guilty on Oct. 29 of aggravated sexual assaut of a child and two counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact.
At the time of his arrest in January of 2020, all three victims were children under the age of 14. Ali is a Somalian national who was living in the U.S. illegally, said Troy Nehls, who was the sheriff of Fort Bend County at the time of Ali’s arrest.
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According to Sgt. Michael Alexander of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, Ali gained access to his alleged victims by gaining the trust of the victim’s families, who invited him into their homes to teach the Quran to their children.
Surveillance of Ali began in September of 2019, after victims reported the abuse to the FBI, but investigators stated that the alleged crimes date back to 2013.
Shariq Abdul Ghani, Director of the Minaret Foundation and representative of the Muslim community, added that Ali was not an employee or official volunteer of any particular mosque, but he traveled to different mosques and schools in the area, establishing himself as a defacto religious leader. “He has a very fluent understanding of the Quran, and he’s fluent in Arabic, which makes him an ideal teacher,” he said.