A TEACHER at a Blackburn mosque has appeared before the town’s magistrates charged with assaulting two of his pupils.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, told the court Mahmad Hajat worked at the Cumberland Street Mosque where it was alleged he had ‘grabbed, hit and slapped’ the pupils.

The court heard the two victims were aged seven and eight at the time.

Hajat, 33, of Winchester Street, Blackburn, pleaded not guilty to two charges of assaulting the boys while in a position of trust. The magistrates directed the cases should be heard at Preston Crown Court.

Hajat was given bail to appear there on May 29.

Conditions of bail include not to teach at the mosque and not to have unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16.

A spokesman at the mosque confirmed Hajat was no longer teaching students but declined to comment further on the issue until the case had been heard.