Friday, 20 April 2012
Two Lib Dem and Labour Muslim councillors have spoken out in defence of one of the men on trial in Rochdale for the grooming of underage white girls.
Councillors Aftab Hussain and Zulfiqar Ali said Abdul Qayyum, 44, is a ‘hard-working family man’ who ‘helped out in the local youth club’.
Qayyum, who has to speak via an interpreter in court, is one of 11 Muslims accused of a string of offences against English girls as young as 13, including rape and sexual trafficking.
British National Party leader Nick Griffin called the councillors’ actions ‘an insult to victims and their families’. He added that their parties should sack them ‘but are soft on paedophilia’.
Labour councillor Aftab Hussain said in defence of the accused:
‘I have known Abdul Qayyum for the last 10 years as a local resident in the area. He lives with his wife and two children. Mr Qayyum is a hard-working person. He has worked hard throughout his life. Within the community, he comes across very well and I have never seen or heard of any wrongdoing before this case. I personally was shocked to hear about this news.’
Liberal Democrat councillor Zulfiqar Ali, a former Mayor of Rochdale, wrote:
‘I have known Mr Abdul Qayyum since the 1990s when he arrived in Rochdale. He has lived in Rochdale all of this time. All the years he has lived in Rochdale he has always been involved in community activities and always makes time to help others, for example cleaning the neighbourhood, helping out in the local youth club and most importantly he looks after his family.
‘Abdul has a wife and children that live in Rochdale. He has fully adopted the British way of life and has made many friends because of this. Abdul is one of those men the community has really taken to – they are really proud to have him as part of the wider family. He is hard-working and dedicated.’
The trial continues.
Muslim councillors unite behind child grooming suspect