Protest as Muslim school principal appears in Wynberg court on sex assault charges
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Cape Town - Former learners and parents stood in protest and in solidarity with anti-sexual violence activists at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, where a former Islamic school principal appeared on charges of sexual assault against a minor, on Thursday.
The former principal of the Ottery-based Halāwat-ul-Qurān Haafith Academy, Abdul Karriem Davids, 45, from Surrey Estate, appeared in a mostly empty Child Sexual Offences Courtroom G.
A case of sexual assault was opened against Davids at the Grassy Park police station in November 2019, following an incident in May.
The magistrate heard that the victim, still a minor, was not ready to testify as yet and in need of counselling. The request was granted and the case postponed to March 16, when the trial is expected to commence.
The father of the victim said: “I commend my daughter for standing up and she’s strong for doing what she’s doing. She knows she’s doing the right thing, not just for her but for someone else also. This is so rife and if you don’t take action, nothing is going to come from it.
“There’s anger but at the end of the day, we can't be angry because there’s a process but the process is taking so long and it takes a toll on her also because she is young.”
The accused is alleged to have groped her and kissed her on the mouth. The incident is not an isolated one, with the victim reportedly confiding in her grandfather about other alleged incidents of sexual assault.
The mother of the victim urged survivors of sexual assault to speak up.
“I would support and hold any person’s hand that is willing to come out and say, ‘me too’; there is nothing to be ashamed of, this can only bring about healing. We can't take this over to another generation; it's about healing.”
Wynberg resident Tarnia Kemp, with her twin 11-year-old daughters, joined in support. Kemp, who is home-schooling her daughters, said being at court was a major life lesson. “This is their lesson for today. They must stand up for their rights.”
Davids was employed at Jam ‘Eyyatul Qurra’ (JEQ) in 2003-2010 as a teacher and principal of the Male Hifth Institute from 2010-2018. Davids immediately resigned from the school following an internal investigation of sexual assault against him by a staff member.
JEQ head of operations Imraan Fakier said, “We are unaware of any sexual misconduct of Abdul Karriem Davids involving learners at JEQ, although there was an allegation of sexual harassment against a staff member, upon which we called for an immediate investigation. As a result, Abdul Karriem Davids resigned with immediate effect.”