Charity chief sentenced to seven and a half years for sex offences

Zafar Iqbal of the of the Southwark Muslim Women's Association was found guilty of 25 sex offences against three girls under 14 years old

Zafar Iqbal
Zafar Iqbal

The chief executive of a Muslim community charity in London has been sentenced to seven and a half years in jail after being found guilty of a string of sex offences.

Zafar Iqbal, head of the Southwark Muslim Women’s Association, was sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court yesterday.

Iqbal, who had been charged with a total of 31 offences, was found guilty last month of 25 counts of sexual abuse against three girls under the age of 14 in the 1970s and 1980s. He was found not guilty of six charges.

He will be placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely.

The SMWA works to "improve the quality of life for Muslim women, children and elders", according to its objects, through a number of means, including providing education and leisure activities. It had an income of £241,862 in the year to 31 March 2013, down from £385,968 in the previous year, with slightly more than two-thirds of this coming from Southwark Council, according to its accounts. Its eight staff were paid a total of £161,600 in the year, with no member of staff paid more than £60,000.

Iqbal had been on sick leave from the charity during that year. In the annual report he wrote: "It has been a frustrating year for me personally. The SMWA has been part of my life for more than 30 years so to be away from work due to ill health has been very difficult."

The charity did not respond to a request for comment.

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