A mosque teacher assaulted four pupils, including one with learning difficulties, with a two-foot long pipe because they were misbehaving in class.
A court heard the Accrington mosque had a written policy which urged staff to make sure the welfare of children was paramount and calling for them to be protected from abuse.
Married father-of-eight Ibrahim Yusuf, 52, of Preston New Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to four charges of assault. He was bailed for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Philippa White, prosecuting, said part of the incident at the Grimshaw Street mosque had been captured on CCTV, which showed Yusuf striking two of the boys, aged 11.
She said the boys’ teacher left them alone and there was some ‘minor misbehaviour.’ The defendant was teaching in another part of the mosque and saw and heard what was going on,” said Mrs White.
“He came over carrying a thin, flexible pole. As he walked among the children he hit four of them with the stick.”
She said one was hit on the arm and another on the lower back.
One boy was clearly upset when his mum collected him at 7pm and he had a red mark on his back.
When he was interviewed by police Yusuf said he had gone over to control the children and accepted he had a piece of plastic overflow pipe in his hand which he used as a “teaching aid”.
He said pupils often made complaints against mosque teachers to get out of going to classes but was aware punishment should be through exclusion or detention.
Bernard Horne, defending, said: “He does accept that he went into this classroom to get the children to stop misbehaving.
He also accepts he was waving this pipe around and it struck four of the children. The pipe is used as a pointing stick and to tap on the desk to get the attention of his class.
“There has never been any previous complaint about his behaviour towards the children and how he conducts himself. He has the ongoing support of the mosque and is very highly regarded in the community.”
He said Yusuf had been a mosque teacher for 36 years, the last 10 years at the Grimshaw Street mosque.
The mosque chairman Mr Sardar Ali defended Yusuf, insisting he was “the best teacher at the mosque”.
Mr Ali said: “He was holding the pipe but he was only using it to scare the children to behave.
He didn't hit them hard, he just tapped them, but all the teachers know that you can't hit them as that is against policy.
“If he’s not banned or cautioned then he will come back.
He can teach the Qu’ran by heart to the children.”
Hyndburn deputy council leader Munsif Dad said:
“Obviously it’s very inappropriate to hit anybody, particularly a child. This sort of attitude is totally unacceptable in any form.
“For an individual with that sort of experience it's unfortunate that he’s got himself in that situation.
“All mosques are professionally run to provide a facility for the Muslim community and the wider community in general and helping to build those bridges.
“Incidents like this happen very, very rarely and I don't think in that context it will affect the community."