A former teacher at a mosque is facing jail after being found guilty of sexually touching four girls as young as five while they read to him in Arabic from the Quran.

Mohammed Haji Saddique, who taught at the Madina Mosque in Cardiff for more than 30 years, would call the girls to sit next to him on the pretence of getting them to read from the Muslim holy book, Cardiff Crown Court heard during his trial.

The now 81-year-old would sexually touch the youngsters as they read.

On Thursday, Saddique, of Lake Road East, Cyncoed, Cardiff, who denied 15 counts of indecent and sexual assault relating to four different girls over a 10-year period between 1996 and 2006, was found guilty of 14 child sex offences and not guilty of one of the sexual assault charges.

The court heard Saddique was a member of the mosque until it was destroyed by fire in 2006 and that as well as worshipping there, he was involved in other aspects of running it, including at one time as treasurer and as a teacher of Quran studies to primary school-aged children.

Suzanne Thomas, prosecuting, said in her opening statement that Saddique created a culture in his lessons in which it was the norm for physical punishment to be used in order to discipline the children.

She said: "It is while teaching at the mosque that the prosecution say the defendant took advantage of his position and touched in a sexual manner four young girls who were in his care."

One of the victims, now an adult, who cannot be named, told the jury that Saddique touched her inappropriately, adding: "I didn't know how to talk about it because in our culture it's not something you talk about."

Describing how Saddique touched her breasts during lessons, she added: "He would just sort of call my name out and I knew that it was my turn to come and read... then I'd just go up and start reading from the book.

"I knew it was going to happen at some point which made me quite nervous. I felt at the time I didn't have a choice."

Another of the girls described Saddique as being "touchy feely" and said he would call her forward to read to him before touching her unformed breasts.

She said: "He would rub your body against the inner part of his legs."

Saddique denied touching any of the four girls inappropriately and claimed the allegations were the result of a conspiracy by senior members of the mosque. He said people had manipulated the four young women to tell lies about him.

The case was adjourned for sentencing on July 7.

Mike Jenkin, from the CPS, said: "These women have shown remarkable courage in coming forward to speak about the abuse they suffered at the hands of Mohammed Haji Saddique when they were young girls.

"Saddique was a respected figure in the community with considerable influence and power which makes the bravery of his victims all the more admirable.

"The evidence given by these women meant the prosecution was able to present a compelling case to the jury, resulting in the guilty verdicts returned today."

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Cronick of South Wales Police said the four women had shown "immense courage" in coming forward and that Saddique had "abused his position of trust within the community he served".

DCI Cronick said he believed that as a result of the verdicts there may be members of the community who now felt confident enough to speak out and urged them to talk to police or support agencies.

He added: "Anyone with any information concerning this matter or who may have any other concerns should call a dedicated NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 where specially trained staff will talk to you and offer support.

"Alternatively you can call South Wales Police on 101 quoting the reference: 1600442164."