“There’s really no such thing as just Sharia, it’s not one monolithic Continuum – Sharia is understood in thousands of different ways over the 1,500 years in which multiple and competing schools of law have tried to construct some kind of civic penal and family law code that would abide by Islamic values and principles, it’s understood in many different ways…” — Reza Aslan
”NEXT time you think about picking up a drink you will remember this pain.”
With these words, Wassim Fayad finished administering 40 lashes with an electrical cord across the back of Muslim convert Cristian Martinez, helping the Sydney man to quit drugs and alcohol.
A court heard that Fayad and three other men – Zakaryah Raad, Tolga Cifci and Cengiz Coskun – claimed they were following sharia when they held Mr Martinez down and whipped him on the back in the middle of the night.
Mr Martinez vomited during the attack and pleaded for mercy: ”Can you stop this? Stop what you’re doing?”
Fayad told his victim he loved him and it was for his own good.
The whipping took place in a western Sydney townhouse in July 2011. In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in Australia, the four men were convicted on Thursday of assault and other charges.
”Until now, assaults occasioned in the course of a religious practice involving mortification of the flesh have not been before any court in any common law country,” the magistrate Brian Maloney told Burwood Local Court.
A statement tendered in court from Sheikh Omar El Banna, the imam of the Omar mosque in Auburn, said the whipping was not sanctioned or authorised by the community.
When Mr Martinez went to the sheikh for advice, he was told: ”This is ridiculous. You can’t apply this ruling, this is wrong. This isn’t what should be happening.”
The founder of the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia, Keysar Trad, said he was pleased the court did not treat the case as a trial of the religion.
”The Islamic faith does not allow any person to take the law into their own hands. Muslims cannot perpetrate a crime and have no right to punish anyone,” Mr Trad said. ”[The men] must have a very active imagination. They should not blame religion when things get out of hand.”
“Muslims cannot perpetrate a crime” — spoken like a true Islamic supremacist, disclaiming responsibility for every act of violence Muslims do in the name of Islam and Sharia. And they “have no right to punish anyone”? Consider the case of apostasy. Islamic law stipulates, according to a Shafi’i manual of Islamic jurisprudence, that one who has reached puberty and is sane and voluntarily leaves Islam “deserves to be killed.” Only the caliph is authorized to kill him, and “if somebody else kills him, the killer is disciplined.” However, “there is no indemnity for killing an apostate…or any expiation, since it is killing someone who deserves to die” (Reliance of the Traveller, o8.1-5). In other words, one shouldn’t arrogate to oneself the right to administer this Sharia punishment, but if one does, there is no penalty.
The court heard that Mr Martinez drank and took drugs on July 15 and 16, before he called Fayad to ask for guidance.
Fayad said: ”Yeah, it means I’m going to tie you up, brother, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Fayad called Raad and told him to go to Mr Martinez’s house, where Raad sent Fayad a message saying something like: ”Allam, the sharia bring right material. It’s important.”
Fayad, Cifci and Coskun then joined Raad at Mr Martinez’s house late on July 16 and Fayad whipped him while the others held him down.
”Mr Fayad assured Mr Martinez that the last 20 lashes won’t be so bad, and told [him] that he loves him, that he wants him to be a good person and the way he’s going, he’s ruining his life,” Mr Maloney said.
Mr Martinez said he consented to the first, 11th and 21st lash, but Mr Maloney found that he had withdrawn his consent.
Raad was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm in company, stealing and two counts of intimidation, while the others were convicted of the assault and stealing charges, related to a CCTV hard drive they took from Mr Martinez’s home. The men will be sentenced in June.