A devout Muslim forced two young boys to whip themselves with knife blades and chains in a brutal religious ceremony, a British court heard Monday.
Syed Zaidi struck himself repeatedly with a crude flail — five chains attached to a handle, each with a blade on the tip — until his back was bloodied.
He then washed it and handed it to the boys, aged 13 and 15, ordering them to whip themselves as part of a Shia self-flagellation ritual, it is alleged.
Prosecutor Andrew Nuttall said males aged over 16 use the flail, called a Zanjeer, during the month-long festival of Muharram to honor prophet Mohammed’s grandson Hussain.
Manchester Crown Court was shown a DVD of the ceremony.
Nuttall said: “This is not an attack upon the practices of Shia Muslims. We rely upon guidance by senior members.
“This is about the defendant urging these boys to use an adult Zanjeer which was clearly going to cause injury.”
He added members of the community — including Zaidi, 44 — were told those under 16 were not to take part at the Shia centre in Levenshulme, Manchester.
Nuttall said both boys received injuries to their backs and police were informed.