A Bangladeshi woman who shook a baby boy so violently that he suffered brain damage walked free from court yesterday because a judge conceded that she did not know how to behave in the West.
Rahella Khanom, 24, caused the five-month-old boy in her care to suffer fractures to his breast bone and ribs as she tried to rid him of evil spirits, Southwark Crown Court was told.
“I accept you were kept really quite isolated from our society by your community and it would seem to a large extent by your husband as well. Under these circumstances I do not feel it is in the public interest to pass an immediate custodial sentence.” [The Times, via Wardyblog]
How does one deal with this? One the one hand I hate judges who let off criminals using the “it maybe in your culture” argument. No, if the person has done something criminal please lock them up. Stop treating Asians with kid-gloves as if they should be held to a lower standard of criminality or stupidity.
But will locking such villagers with mad superstitious tendencies help? I doubt it. They’ll remain forever locked to that mindset. The main problem seems to be that she is under severe stress since coming over and being ignored by her husband. So she takes it out on the kid.
Consequence: After being let off lightly, she is no better off. Others use this as a “multi-culturalism is bad” example. ‘Community leaders’ turn a blind eye. Government enacts some silly legislation after Daily Mail hysteria. Then ‘community groups’ complain of a nanny state. Nothing actually improves.
What may be the correct way to deal with this?
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Filed in: Culture,South Asia