A muslim who raped a 13-year-old girl he groomed on Facebook has been spared a prison sentence after a judge heard he went to an Islamic faith school where he was taught that women are worthless.
Adil Rashid, 18, claimed he was not aware that it was illegal for him to have sex with the girl because his education left him ignorant of British law.
Yesterday Judge Michael Stokes handed Rashid a suspended sentence, saying: ‘Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters.’
Earlier Nottingham Crown Court heard that such crimes usually result in a four to seven-year prison sentence.
But the judge said that because Rashid was ‘passive’ and ‘lacking assertiveness’, sending him to jail might cause him ‘more damage than good’.
Rashid, from Birmingham, admitted he had sex with the girl, saying he had been ‘tempted by her’ after they met online.
They initially exchanged messages on Facebook before sending texts and chatting on the phone over a two-month period.
They then met up in Nottingham, where Rashid had booked a room at a Premier Inn.
The girl told police they stayed at the hotel for two hours and had sex after Rashid went to the bathroom and emerged wearing a condom.
Rashid then returned home and went straight to a mosque to pray. He was arrested the following week after the girl confessed what had happened to a school friend, who informed one of her teachers.
He told police he knew the girl was 13 but said he was initially reluctant to have sex before relenting after being seduced.
Earlier the court heard how Rashid had ‘little experience of women’ due to his education at an Islamic school in the UK, which cannot be named for legal reasons.
After his arrest, he told a psychologist that he did not know having sex with a 13-year-old was against the law. The court heard he found it was illegal only when he was informed by a family member.
In other interviews with psychologists, Rashid claimed he had been taught in his school that ‘women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground’.
When Judge Stokes said Rashid ‘must have known it was illegal, unless he was going round with his eyes shut’, defence lawyer Laban Leake said reports suggested Rashid had a ‘degree of sexual naivety’.
‘The school he attended, it is not going too far to say, can be described as a closed community and on this occasion this was perpetuated by his home life.
‘It is not too far to say that he may not have known that having sex with a 13-year-old girl was illegal.’ Judge Stokes sentenced Rashid to nine months youth custody, suspended for two years, along with a two-year probation supervision order.
Describing Rashid, the judge said: ‘He’s had an unusual education, certainly in terms of the sexual education provided. Comparing women to lollipops is a very curious way of teaching young men about sex.’
But he said that Rashid knew what he was doing was wrong.
‘It was made clear to you at the school you attended that having sexual relations with a woman before marriage was contrary to the precepts of Islam,’ he said.
Addressing Rashid, the judge said: ‘I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity.’