Sarah Ege a 33 year old mother in Wales has been sentenced to Life this week after beating her 7 year old son to death because he failed to memorise a section of the Quran. Her son, Yaseen, was enrolled in a program in the mosque to memorise some of the Quran and was facing an exam when the incident occurred in July 2010. He had been repeatedly beaten with a stick over a three month period and finally collapsed before his mother after receiving abdominal injuries. After the death, his body was burned and a room set on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime. Sarah later confessed saying she heard voices from the devil, but later withdrew the confession saying her husband and his family made her do it. Her husband was cleared of failing to prevent the death last December. Sarah will serve a minimum of 17 years, minus the 2.5 years she has already spent in secure psychiatric units since her arrest.
Isaiah Kalebu, in his murder and rape trial, has told the court that he was told by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to attack enemies. Earlier in the week, the surviving victim of the attack, identified Kalebu as the man who broke into the home she shared with her partner Teresa Butz, two years ago. She told the jury that he tortured and sexually abused the two women before slashing one girls throat and stabbing Teresa in the heart. Teresa jumped out a window and ran away naked and screaming, but later died. Her partner managed to escape and later identified Kalebu. Due to previous outbursts in the courtroom, Kalebu appeared strapped into a wheelchair wearing white mitts to prevent him from attacking others. He was also connected to an electric shock device so that he could be zapped if he became uncontrollable. What a charming man.
A fringe Muslim group in Malaysia has caused some controversy by starting an Obedient Wives Club. The group maintain that wives should be better than a first class prostitute in the bedroom. By sexually satisfying their husbands, they can prevent domestic violence and sexual promiscuity. Doesn’t it sound a bit like the husband saying, “Do what I want in the bedroom or I’ll beat you up and sleep with other women”? I can’t really see why the wives would join, unless of course they don’t want to be beaten up and have their husbands sleep around. The media has asked the minister for women in Malaysia, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, if wives are being turned into slaves by their husbands. She has stated that the club is giving Islam a bad name.
Two Irish Catholic priests based in Australia, continue to hold church ceremonies, despite being at the centre of abuse allegations. In Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady refuses to step down despite allowing Fr Brendan Smyth to remain free to abuse over an 18-year period. Fr Sean Brady, as he was at the time, failed to notify the proper authorities and had young witnesses swear oaths of secrecy to protect guilty parties.
Last night Australia’s ABC television named Fr Finian Egan, based in Sydney, and Fr Paddy Maye, based in Melbourne, in connection with alleged abuse. Church investigations found that Fr Egan groped two girls over several years in the 1980s and Fr Maye forced himself on a vulnerable 31-year-old woman and also groped two sisters over several years in the 1980s. Fr Maye has been told by the Archbishop of Melbourne not to continue working as a priest, but despite this he served mass for St. Patrick’s Day both this year and last year. The women allegedly abused by Fr Egan received a letter from Bishop David Walker of Sydney to apologise for the way they had been treated by Fr Egan. However, a month later, the same Fr Egan was honoured in a church ceremony across the road from the Bishop’s office, to celebrate his 50 years as a priest.
In much the same way, Cardinal Sean Brady pays lip service to the suffering endured by victims of abuse in the church, but takes away from that by remaining in a senior position in the church. The victims, including the One in Four campaign group are very clear that they want him to resign.
Some portion of the blame must also go to the congregation who attend ceremonies celebrated by these men. If you attend such a ceremony, you are acknowledging their right to the position they hold and denying the suffering of the abusers. Perhaps the easy confessional ethic of the Catholic Church is responsible. Just say a word and I shall be healed. Unfortunately many of the victims continue to suffer the effects, long after the word has been said. They want action, not words.