October 2015

Muslim faith healer pervert jailed in depraved teen sexual assault during ‘naked ritual’

Syed Shah

A MUSLIM faith healer has been sentenced to two years behind bars after he used his role as a self-appointed ‘holy man’ to sexually attack a teenage girl.

Syed Shah, 29, used his power within the local religious community in Birmingham to befriend the teenage victim and her family over the course of nine months.

Shah, who was a married man, had been sought out to ‘treat’ the girl who had been going through a difficult personal ordeal at the time.

The self-professed Islamic faith healer was known as a “holy man” and had been a trusted source to help those in need.

But, in February 2013, Shah launched into a sickening sexual assault after visiting the girl in her room in Luton.

He demanded the teenager strip naked during a ‘healing ritual’ before carrying out the depraved attack.

The ‘preacher’ then threatened the teenager with “evil spirits” if she reported the crime.

But, the courageous teenager later informed police after she saw footage of other bogus faith healers on social media and realised she had been duped.

He denied being anywhere near to the location of the assault, however, his mobile phone data was analysed which put him near to the scene of the crime.

He pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexual assault.

Shah was jailed for two years on Friday and ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register at Birmingham Crown Court.

The victim said Shah had been “like an uncle” to her.

She added: “He used to tell me stories about his power and this made me see him as an honest person.

“He was always smiling and caring, that’s the reason I turned to him.”

Judge Avik Mukherjee condemned the twisted faith healer during his sentencing.

He said: “You sexually assaulted her taking advantage of your faith, her faith and her faith in you.

“She was effectively a client of yours, she was in a vulnerable state emotionally and mentally.

“She came to you because she hoped you would help her in very difficult circumstances for her.

“You asked questions that were inappropriate and tried to affect her relationships and successfully affected her relationships.

“You abused your position, breached the trust that she had in you, trust you gained by those nine months spent with her.

“This affected her emotionally and mentally and the way she views Asian males in traditional dress.

“She has been receiving counselling as a result of what you did.

“What right did you have to affect someone’s life in that way?”

Jon Swain, defending, said: “It was a time in his life he was not in an affectionate marriage and turned to this young woman to replace that aspect of his life.”

After the hearing, Claire Nicholls, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the West Midlands CPS Rape and Serious Sexual Offences Unit, said: “Syed Shah promoted himself within his local community as a holy man and therefore someone who had a position of responsibility and more importantly trust.

“He breached this trust and preyed on a vulnerable victim who he assaulted for his own personal sexual gratification.

“He used his position of authority as a holy man and healer to pressurise the victim into consenting to sexual acts. This meant she did not consent freely which is required in law.

“I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the victim who came forward and supported the prosecution case which has enabled us to bring to justice a very dangerous sexual predator.”