A RELIGIOUS leader is facing time behind bars after being convicted by a jury of carrying out sex attacks on two young girls at his Cradley Heath mosque.

Hafiz Rahman was the Imam at the place of worship and he sexually assaulted the girls in a string of attacks between March 1986 and August 1987.

The girls who had gone to the Queens Cross mosque for religious studies had described to the jury how they were touched sexually by Rahman.

The 58-year-old of Ballard Road, Netherton, had denied seven charges involving indecent assault at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

But at the end of his five day trial the eight man- four woman reached unanimous guilty verdicts on five of the charges.

The jury cleared Rahman on two other charges.

Rahman was not in court to hear the verdicts after his defending counsel ,Tariq Shakoor, informed the judge he was unwell.

Judge Nicholas Cartwright said guidelines for the offences on which he was convicted meant an immediate custodial sentence.

He said sentencing should take place on a date to be arranged administratively provided Rahman had made a full recovery.

The judge ruled Rahman should also be told as soon as possible he has to sign the Sex Offenders Register.

Peter Arnold, prosecuting, said they would also be taking steps to make Rahman the subject of a Sexual Harm Protection Order.

Rahman who had a Bengali interpreter did not give evidence himself during the course of his trial and Mr Shakoor said he had been advised about any inference the jury might take from his decision.

The victims who were aged under ten had told the court how they were sexually assaulted by the Imam - a man with seven children and ten grandchildren.

The one woman broke down as she explained how she found it hard to understand what was happening because she was only six years old at the time.

She said she went to report to the police what had taken place adding: "I felt morally obliged to do the right thing."