An Islamic scholar Mohammed Abdullah Saleem (77), accused of molesting an underage girl and a female employee, was sentenced to 24 months’ probation after pleading guilty to sex abuse.
Saleem who had founded the Institute for Islamic Education 27 years ago in Elgin,cannot be within 500 feet of any school – including the one he founded 27 years ago, except to worship at its affiliated mosque.
He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Besides, he is forbidden to be in the presence of females of any age, except relatives, without another adult female present.
Saleem was accused of repeatedly fondling a young woman who worked for him at the school, as well as a student who was a minor at the time, in some cases while forcing them sit on his lap. Cook County Attorney sources said the student was 14 when Saleem began to abuse her in 2001. The following year, the girl reported the abuse to a school official, but nothing happened.
Saleem, regarded an erudite scholar with hugely conservative views on social behaviors, had a good following in his community made up largely of Islamic immigrants from India and Pakistan. He used to espouse a code conduct that would involve separation between genders and would discourage even hand-shaking. The institute, which provides boarding to some students, runs separate programs for girls and boys. His downfall has shocked many of his followers and Islamic community members.