And with good reason. Read on. From The Age, with thanks to Twostellas:
For those schooled in Shakespeare, the doomed romance of Melbourne teenager Mustafa and his Muslim lover Khadji has all the hallmarks of a modern-day tale of Romeo and Juliet.
But for Victorian County Court judge Michael McInerney, the violent family feud that erupted over the forbidden love affair also provided a salient message about the need for Muslim religious leaders to educate immigrants about Australian culture and laws.
The court heard that three members of Khadji’s devoutly religious Turkish family were so desperate to find 18-year-old Khadji, who had absconded with her boyfriend Mustafa, they kidnapped and assaulted Mustafa’s teenage brother and cousin. Khadji’s aunt, sister and brother-in-law all pleaded guilty to charges relating to the boys’ terrifying ordeal.
In his sentencing remarks yesterday, Judge McInerney said there was no excuse for the “very serious crimes” and he hoped a Muslim priest who had been present in court would educate the Turkish community.
“The community must understand that whatever the tenets and concerns of the Muslim religion, they in no way justify the breach of the law while in Australia,” he said.
The court heard that on the night of December 11, 2002, Khadji’s aunt, sister and brother-in-law waited for several hours in a car while the teenagers’ extended families discussed wedding plans for the couple. Khadji had disappeared with Mustafa that day. When Mustafa’s brother and cousin came outside for a cigarette, Khadji’s aunt, Sukriye Yigiter, demanded the cousin’s mobile phone, assuming he was speaking to Mustafa. The boys were punched in the face and forced into the car when they denied knowledge of Mustafa and Khadji’s whereabouts. Yigiter repeatedly called Mustafa’s brother and his family “liars and dogs” and threatened to imprison the boys for 10 days at her Meadow Heights home until they told her where her niece was. Khadji’s brother-in-law, Regaip Dincer, dragged the boys into Yigiter’s living room, where she struck Mustafa’s brother twice on the shin with a metal birdcage stand. “I’m crazy, everyone knows I’m crazy,” Yigiter screamed. The ordeal ended 30 minutes later, when Yigiter’s brother-in-law returned after the wedding meeting and drove the distressed boys home.
“Certainly this has many elements of Romeo and Juliet about it,” prosecutor Marc Sargent said during the hearing. Yigiter’s lawyer, Tara Hartnett, said her client’s actions had to be seen in the context of the shame the episode had brought on the devout Muslim family. She said Yigiter and Khadji’s parents had been suspicious of Mustafa’s intentions and were concerned he would not marry Khadji. “The circumstances of the offending revolve around culture, they involve religion, they involve loyalty, they involve trust,” Ms Hartnett said. “From where Mrs Yigiter was standing they involved a breach of a promise. They involved, from her perspective, the destruction of not only her niece’s life but also the reputation of the immediate and extended family.”
The court heard Khadji returned to her family home a week after the ugly feud. Mustafa’s family did not approach Khadji’s family to arrange a wedding and the lovers split up within a week. “The difficulty that caused was enormous,” Ms Hartnett said. “It was clear (Khadji) and (Mustafa) had had a sexual relationship. (Khadji’s) family, including her aunt, were strict Muslims and because she is not a virgin there are difficulties in relation to her marrying another Muslim. She would be able to marry someone who is a widower or a single father but it excludes her from marrying others. The shame on her family is enormous.”
“The old ways don’t stay in the village, they come with immigration,” Judge McInerney said during the hearing.
Yigiter, 40, of Meadow Heights, and Regaip Dincer, 21, of Upfield, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and recklessly causing injury. Yesim Dincer, 23, of Upfield, pleaded guilty to assault and false imprisonment.