Guilty of cruelty, the Muslim who ordered boys to flog themselves
A Muslim, Syed Zaidi, in a landmark British legal case, has been convicted of cruelty after ordering boys to flog themselves with a bladed whip. It is not illegal for a person over 16 years of age to whip themselves in this way but is for someone under 16. Sometimes we wrongly rush to condemn the religious and cultural practices of others when they don't meet with our own, and although strange the right of an adult to whip them self in this way is perhaps a matter of personal choice, but the ordering of children to do physical harm to themselves must be seen as wrong and punished - in this case with up to ten years in prison.
What is encouraging is that it was other Muslims present that intervened and acted as witnesses in this trial. During the trail it emerged that the boys had first flogged themselves at age 6 in Pakistan but had not wanted to do so when ordered by Zaidi.
The device, called a zanjeer, has been used for centuries by Shia Muslim men and boys to mourn the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson.
However, in this country it is illegal for under-16s to use it on themselves.
Zaidi, a 44-year-old warehouse supervisor, was filmed at the ceremony in Manchester lashing himself with the bladed whip until his bare back was covered in blood.
Onlookers said the devout Muslim was flagellating himself with such fervour that they were forced to intervene and make him stop.
At this point, he handed the zanjeer to a 15- year-old boy and told him to use it.
The teenager whipped his back with it before community members again intervened.
Then, witnesses said, Zaidi grabbed a 13-year-old boy by the arm, pulled off his T-shirt and made him flog himself as well.