Man facing trial over flogging
Tuesday, 19th August 2008. 5:09pm

By: Roberto Sanchez Guevara.

A devout Muslim encouraged two teenage boys to flog themselves until their backs were covered in bloody cuts, an English jury was told yesterday.

Man facing trial over flogging
Syed Mustafa Zaidi, 44, is said to have handed the youngsters the implement as members of the Shia community in Manchester celebrated the traditional ceremony of Ashura. The boys, aged 15 and 13, then took turns to flagellate themselves in front of a large crowd of men.

The custom involves devotees flailing themselves with a Zanjeer Zani, an implement with a wooden handle and five chains attached to sharp knives. The men whip themselves to recreate the suffering of the martyrs. Zaidi, of Eccles, Greater Manchester, is the first person in Britain to be prosecuted over the use of a Zanjeer Zani.

After flogging himself, Mr Zaidi had forced the two boys to join in the annual ceremony that took place last January at a community mosque in Levenshulme, Manchester. The boys were left with bloody cuts across their backs.

Although the practice of self-flagellation is common among Shia Muslims, the prosecution says that allowing children to harm themselves is contrary to British law.

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