Asking for help

Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls addressed the media on Monday about the arrest of Mohamed Omar Ali, who was arrested for alleged sexual assault of minors. Nehls is joined by Detective Michael Alexander (left) and Shariq Abdul Ghani, director of the Minaret Foundation.

A Fort Bend County religious leader accused of sexually misconduct with children is in the country illegally, authorities reported Monday.

Mohamed Omar Ali, a 59-year-old Somalian native, was arrested on Friday for three counts of indecency with a child and one count of sexual assault of a child.

Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehlssaid at a Monday press conference that the reported victims were under the age of 14.

Deputies are searching for more alleged victims of an Islamic religious leader who has been arrested for sexual assault of a child.

Ali spent time in different mosques in the Houston and Fort Bend County areas, advertising for in-home teachings of the Quran to children, Nehls said.

Shariq Abdul Ghani, director of the Minaret Foundation, an organization that works with the Muslim community, joined Nehls at the press conference. He said Ail’s ablility to speak Arabic fluently and grasping the understanding of the Quran made him a strong teacher.

Ghani wants to work with the sheriff’s office to help them find more victims and overcome the stigma and trauma that Ali’s reputed victims may have.

Nehls said that the sheriff’s department worked with the FBI on this case, which deals with crimes that date back to 2013.

FBCSO dectective Michael Alexander said that the investigation started slowly, but came together in the last month, resulting in Ali’s arrest.

Ali is in the Fort Bend County Jail with bonds set at $125,000. But ICE has placed a hold on him, meaning that he will still be detained even if someone does makes his bail.

“If he has a deportation order, why is he still here?” Nehls asked.

Nehls is also asking the Muslim community to help find more victims who may quiet, mostly for religious reasons or stigma.

“Our focus is the children,” Nehls said. “If you’re a victim, we’re not interested in religious affiliation.”

Nehls said that victims or anyone with information about Ali and possible other victims should call Sgt. Jonathan Howell at 281-342-4797.

He said all victims will remain anonymous and protected.

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