Finally, Justice for the Religiously abused.

Today, in the liberally minded England, a Manchester Crown Court jury found a Muslim man guilty of child abuse. Not that unusual....except that the abuse was a religious rite!

I don't think that anyone needs comment that this is real justice, and a real precedent establishing some of the criminal acts that religions have been able to get away with.

Thumbs up to that jury, even though I am sure that at least half of them were just Muslim hating least they did the right thing.

Man guilty of making boys flog themselves with blades in Muslim rite

Teenagers were forced to cut themselves during self-flagellation ceremony in Manchester, court hears

A Muslim man was found guilty of child cruelty today in a British legal first after forcing two boys to beat themselves during a centuries-old Shia religious ceremony.

The jury at Manchester crown court found Syed Mustafa Zaidi, 44, guilty of two counts of child cruelty.

The boys, aged 13 and 15, were forced to beat themselves with a zanjeer zani, a wooden implement with chains and blades attached, during a ceremony to commemorate the death and martyrdom of a seventh-century Shia Muslim leader.

Zaidi, of Station Road, Eccles, Salford, also flogged himself during the ceremony at a community centre in Levenshulme, Manchester, on January 19.

Some countries have banned self-flagellation with the zanjeer zani. It has been substituted by men beating their bare chests. In Indonesia and some other countries, young children are formally encouraged to use a smaller version of the implement.

Zaidi denied his actions were wrong, telling the court: "This is a part of our religion."

The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted they wanted to beat themselves, but not under duress and not using Zaidi's zanjeer zani.

Both boys admitted they had flogged themselves with a smaller zanjeer zani from the age of six in Pakistan.

A 14-year-old boy, who was 13 at the time, said Zaidi told them both: "Start doing it, start doing it".

The boy told the jury: "We said 'We don't want to do it'."

The boy said he saw Zaidi flogging himself with the zanjeer zani before washing his blood from it and handing it to the 15-year-old boy. He said Zaidi was "pulling him and pushing him, 'keep doing it', telling people 'this is a sad moment and look he's not doing it'.

"He goes 'I don't want to do it, I don't want to do it'.

"He kept pressuring him, make him do the knife thing, pulling him, trying to get his T-shirt off, pulling and pushing him. He was saying 'just do it, just do it'."

He said the 15-year-old boy "swung it once or twice and said 'I don't want to do it any more'."

A 20-minute film of the Ashura ceremony, broadcast on satellite television, showed Zaidi flagellating himself until his back was bloody and cut.

Participants at the men-only event flogged themselves, while others chanted the name Husayn and beat their chests. Many cried openly.

The Ashura ceremony takes place during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and commemorates the death of Husayn, who is celebrated as the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and a central figure in the Shia faith.

Husayn was killed at the battle of Karbala alongside 72 members of his family in 680 AD. Performing the matam – self-flagellation – is meant to bring out feelings of bereavement and grief at their deaths.

Zaidi admitted he asked the boys if they wanted to beat themselves and allowed them to use his zanjeer zani. He said the 15-year-old boy had performed a "perfect matam" and that it was not a "stitching matam" because he did not sustain heavy cuts.

He told the jury: "It was an emotional time and the children were happy, they asked for it. No one forced anyone."

The boys had multiple lacerations to their backs, mainly superficial, with several deeper cuts.

Zaidi, a warehouse supervisor, said: "If I'd known this would be the result of breaking the law I would never have done it."

Zaidi is to be sentenced on September 24.

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