Police have arrested a man over alleged assaults on children at a mosque which were broadcast on Channel 4, it emerged today.
The Dispatches documentary, Lessons in Hatred and Violence, which aired last night, filmed what appeared to be a preacher hitting and kicking children during Koran lessons at a school in the Markazi Jamia mosque at Keighley, West Yorkshire.
Today West Yorkshire Police confirmed they had arrested a 59-year-old man in connection with the incident after viewing the secretly filmed footage.
Grabbed: Secretly filmed footage from the Markazi Jamia mosque shows a teacher pulling a pupil towards him and striking him on the back
Slapped: A child receives a sharp blow on the back of the head from the same teacher. The impact of the blow can be heard on the film
It comes after another school featured in the documentary announced yesterday that it would close amid safety fears.
Teachers at the Darul Uloom Islamic High School, in Small Heath, Birmingham, have held meetings with police chiefs and fear that youngsters could be targeted by far-Right activists.
There, the documentary showed an apparent preacher, making offensive remarks about Hindus and ranting: ‘Disbelievers are the worst creatures’.
The school say the person featured making the remarks was a 17-year-old pupil who has since been expelled.
In Keighley, footage filmed by a volunteer, shows children as young as six sitting on the floor of a large room in the mosque, one of the biggest in the country.
Threatened: An older pupil holds down a boy while another pupil – put in charge during the teacher’s absence – aims a bench at him
Punished: One of the madrassa students is grabbed by the wrist, pulled towards the teacher in charge of the class and struck on the back
The boys are hunched over wooden benches, rocking backwards and forwards as they rote-learn the Koran in Arabic.
A man with a long white beard dressed in a traditional shalwar kameez – tunic and trousers – sits at the head of the class.
Periodically he gets up and walks behind the boys.
As he passes, the children appear to cower and watch him nervously.
He then seems to raise his hand and slaps a young boy hard on the head. Moments later he appears to strike another. And then the film seems to show him kicking a third child.
The Dispatches team claim that in just two days of filming in December 2010, the camera recorded the teacher hitting children as young as six or seven at least ten times, in less than three hours of lessons.
Claims: The Markazi Jamia Mosque, Keighley, Yorkshire, is where the alleged assaults happened
Fears: Mujahid Aziz of the Darul Uloom Islamic High School & College in Birmingham, another school featured in the documentary, has brought half term forward after meetings with police
In another incident an older boy, left in charge of a class while a teacher is out at prayer, picks up a bench and threatens to hit a younger boy with it.
A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: ‘We have recently become aware of a number of incidents of alleged assault at a mosque and just before the weekend were able to view edited footage of the alleged incident.
‘A 59-year-old man has been arrested and released on police bail pending further inquiries.
‘West Yorkshire Police are receiving full co-operation from the Keighley Muslim Association.’