FL--Victims group blasts FL Muslim school
Statement by David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
It’s heartbreaking that officials at a Muslim school kept silent for months about credible child sex abuse allegations. And now, with the accused predator a fugitive from justice, it’s outrageous that school officials are apparently making little or no effort to protect other kids, help law enforcement and adequately inform parents about the alleged sex offender. We urge parents to unite and pressure school officials to do more to protect kids.
Here’s why this secrecy is so hurtful: it enables child molesters to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, fabricate alibis and flee elsewhere. It makes the job of police and prosecutors much more difficult. And it keeps kids in harm’s way much longer. Shame on every single employee or volunteer at Nur-Ul-Islam Academy who knew of or suspected wrongdoing by Tariq Ahmed and kept quiet about it.
We applaud attorneys for the two alleged victims who have set up websites and Facebook pages in an effort to learn more about Ahmed. But why does it fall to advocates for the wounded to do what paid school staff should be doing?
We join them in urging anyone who might have seen, suspected or suffered sex crimes or cover ups at the school to come forward, get help and protect kids and contact law enforcement officials, rather than school officials.
And we agree with those attorneys who say that Nur-Ul-Islam Academy officials should send letters to families of current and former students, explain the charges, and solicit their help in catching Ahmed.
Remember this is more than a “he said, she said” situation. There are two alleged victims. There’s a civil lawsuit (filed last Friday). There are formal criminal charges, levied by the Broward State Attorney’s office against Ahmed - six felony counts of sexually abusing and raping middle school students.
The girls’ attorneys allege that they have found proof that school officials learned about Ahmed’s wrongdoing years ago - between 2005 and 2008 - but refused to call police. We hope this isn’t true but strongly suspect that it is. And if so, we hope police and prosecutors pursue criminal cases against any teacher or administrator who opted to protect a colleague instead of protecting a child.
The girls’ attorneys are Scott Mager, Michael Dolce and Brian Paruas, firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-763-2800 or 561-512-2104. According to them:
---Dr. Husman Khan of Ft. Lauderdale (954-527-0222) is the chair of the school’s board of directors.
---The school’s lawyer is Yasir Billoo (305-670-4421).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.