Three British-born Pakistani men are facing life sentences after being convicted of murdering a white graduate in London while drunk. [...] It sounds like an all too familiar night of violence of the type which blights many city centres in Britain. Except that the victim, 30-year-old graduate Christopher Yates, was white, the killers were all British-born Pakistani men from devout Muslim families and the attack happened in the middle of Ramadan. [...] Maqsood, Bashir and Zulfiqar eschewed their parents' religion and culture - although they paid lip service to it - and chose instead to imitate their white English peers with binge drinking, sex and consumerism."Dog bites man: that's not news. Man bites dog – that's news!" *sigh* But that's not what really started me looking at the screen and whispering "I can't believe I'm reading this!"
The trial painted a picture of three men whose drinking and womanising was kept secret from their families.Now please do correct me if I'm wrong, but this is a murder trial, is it not? There may be a question about racial motivation, but imagine the converse situation, where three white guys are in the dock accused of murdering an Asian man: do you think that questions about how religiously observant the defendants' parents were, whether a defendant had a girlfriend, whether his parents were aware of the relationship, or whether such a relationship would be approved of in his religion would be seen as germane to the trial?
The Old Bailey heard Maqsood's parents had no idea he drank alcohol and he even had a secret girlfriend, Sophie Shah.
Defence counsel, David Nathan, asked: "Were your parents aware of the relationship you had been having with Sophie Shah?"
Maqsood, who was born in Burnley, Lancashire, replied: "No. It's something I wouldn't do (tell them). In our religion you don't tell your parents. They might get upset."
Mr Nathan asked: "Was the relationship you were having something which was approved of in your religion before marriage?"
"No," Maqsood replied.
Note that these questions are being put by the defence.
Do the rest of you see this bringing-in of religion, culture and family practice as at best irrelevant and at worst prejudicial? Or have I seized hold of the wrong end of the stick?