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22 August 2012

Toronto imam faces sex assault charges

mi-300-imam-tor-police.jpgA man who taught at a Toronto Islamic centre and travelled to mosques around the world is facing sexual assault charges involving at least five alleged victims.

Police announced Wednesday that Mohammad Masroor, 48, has been charged with 13 offences, including sexual assault and threatening death. Police declined to provide further detail on the charges.

Masroor is the imam at the Baitul Mukarram Islamic Society in the city's east end. Police say he taught the Qu'ran to students at the mosque, and at homes in the community since coming to Canada in 2008.

Police say Mohammad Masroor, 48, has been charged with 13 offences, including sexual assault and threatening death.(Toronto Police Service)

"He is in a position of authority and he has used that to his advantage," Det.-Const. Karen Armstrong told a news conference.

Armstrong said Masroor has travelled internationally, and worked at mosques in Bangladesh, Singapore, Sri Lanka and several countries in Western Europe. He was most recently in Michigan and Florida, she added.

Armstrong told reporters the investigation involves five alleged victims, both male and female. She said police are in touch with other alleged victims, and believe there may be more abroad.

She would not provide detail on the ages of the victims, or their relationship with Masroor, who was arrested Aug. 10 and remains in custody.

"He is known to the victims but I can't go into any more detail than that as it is an ongoing investigation and I don't want to jeopardize the safety of the victims in any way," Armstrong said.

Muslim members of the Toronto police force are assisting the alleged victims, Armstrong said.

The Baitul Mukarram mosque could not be reached by phone Wednesday afternoon.

Armstrong said police are not currently working with foreign law enforcement, but called on anyone in Canada or abroad who has more information on the case to contact Toronto police.



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