On March 25, 2015, attorneys Raymond G. Wigell and Huma Rashid appeared at the Cook County Courthouse in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, as attorneys of record for Mr. Mohammad Abdullah Saleem. With Mr. Saleem appeared approximately 30 supporters from the Muslim community, who sat through the day’s court appearance in a show of support for the respected and beloved Muslim cleric, or Imam.
Mr. Saleem was formally charged yesterday in an 8-count indictment regarding an incident of alleged sexual abuse. An indictment is not evidence; it is not a proof of anything in and of itself. An indictment is merely an allegation, an accusation. It was tendered (that is, given to Mr. Saleem’s attorneys) by the Honorable Judge James Karahalios.
Attorney Raymond Wigell acknowledged receipt of the Indictment, waived a formal reading of it in open court, and entered a plea of Not Guilty to all eight counts.
Mr. Saleem’s attorneys also filed a Motion for Discovery, requiring the State to tender all material it anticipates using against Mr. Saleem at trial. It is premature to discuss whether or not the case shall proceed to trial, or whether it will be a jury trial or a bench trial, but that discussion will become more important as the case matures.
After the filings were made and materials were tendered, Judge Karahalios set a date for Mr. Saleem, through his attorneys, to file thhe defendant’s Answer to Discovery, as well as any initial pre-trial motions. Pre-trial motions are requests to the Court to determine specifics prior to and in anticipation of trial.
The next court date will be May 19, 2015, at 9:00am, before Judge Karahalios in Room 107, at the Cook County Courthouse in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.
Once the court proceeding was concluded, Mr. Saleem left the courtroom, flanked by his sons and grandson, and followed closely by his two attorneys and many supporters. There were a handful of individuals who supported the accuser, and have been observed approaching Mr. Saleem’s supporters on this and previous occasions in the courthouse. They attempted, without success, to engage Mr. Saleem’s supporters in a heated discussion.
However, due to the maturity and respect of Mr. Saleem’s supporters for the criminal justice system, as well as the assistance of the Cook County Sheriff’s deputies in the Rolling Meadows courthouse, all involved exited in an orderly manner.
Attorneys Raymond Wigell and Huma Rashid spoke briefly with many members of the community (both supporters and the opposition) about various issues connected with the case, before excusing themselves to move forward and address various news outlets that had assembled in anticipation of Mr. Saleem’s plea of Not Guilty.
The attorneys spoke with George Houde of the Chicago Tribune, Barbara Vitello of the Chicago Daily Herald, and appeared in a televised news segment with Regina Waldroup of NBC 5 Chicago. Each of these outlets have been present for the previous court dates in this matter, and have put out numerous reports regarding this matter.
Mr. Saleem is set to appear in court next on May 19, 2015, at 9:00am before Judge Karahalios. Having entered a plea of not guilty to all counts in the Indictment, he is prepared to continue to fight the questionable allegations and restore his good name and continue his status as a respected and revered pillar in the Chicagoland Muslim community.
For previous coverage of Mr. Saleem’s matter, please see the links below:
- Chicago Tribune: Imam Accused of Sexual Abuse Faces Indictment
- Chicago Daily Herald: Elgin Cleric Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Abuse Charges
- NBC Chicago: Islamic Scholar Indicted