"A MUSLIM man who was found guilty of encouraging two boys to whip themselves as part of a religious ceremony has escaped jail.A suspended sentence, A SUSPENDED SENTENCE!
Syed Mustafa Zaidi was found guilty of child cruelty last month after the two boys, aged 13 and 15, told a court he had forced them to flagellate themselves with a bladed zanjeer whip as part of a traditional Shia Muslim ritual.
A jury at Manchester Crown Court convicted Zaidi of two counts of child cruelty, but in sentencing yesterday he was handed a suspended sentence."
The police response:
"Superintendent Paul Savill from Greater Manchester Police said the force had implemented a working code of conduct for adults about involving children in the self-flagellation ritual since Zaidi was convicted."Oh wow.
The local Islamic dignitary's response (my emphasis):
"Mr Safdar Zia, general secretary of the Jaffria Islamic Centre said while the ceremony could not be eliminated, mosque leaders would now work within the law.Oh what has happened to the UK?
"This sort of practice has been going on throughout the Islamic world for centuries and although there have been cases like this in the past they haven't been brought to court,” he said.
"We cannot eliminate this practice, but we can and will work to a code of practice so that the children don't get hurt, the law isn't broken, and the people who do want to take part don't get prosecuted.
"We have to take into account people's beliefs and their rights, and we will respect them. But we are not above the law and we never will be and working with the authorities is the best chance we've got to prevent any harm being brought against any children.
"The best way of achieving our aims now is to try and understand the law better and work within the law to move forward.""