Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Raped for reading the Bible
AN Iraqi man allegedly raped a Muslim woman as "punishment" for reading the Bible, saying, "let your Jesus help you", a court heard yesterday.
Campbelltown District Court was told Abdul Reda Al Shawany twice sexually assaulted the woman, a practising Muslim who wears a hijab, after they met at a railway station.
Al Shawany, 52, has plead not guilty to two counts of having sexual intercourse without consent between September 1 and 27, 2002, at a unit in Warwick Farm.
At the first day of the week-long trial yesterday, Crown prosecutor Michael O'Brien outlined the case and told how the woman allegedly kept the clothes and underwear she was wearing on the day of the alleged rape in a plastic bag for about three years.
The woman initially reported the matter to police but did not want to take it further because she felt "ashamed", Mr O'Brien said. She later changed her mind and Al Shawany, of Hillsdale, was arrested in July 2005 and the woman provided police with the clothing.
The Crown alleges swab samples from the accused had the same DNA as the semen sample taken from the woman's clothing.
"The complainant was born a Muslim and raised a Muslim and was a Muslim all her life," Mr O'Brien said.
He said when the woman came to Australia from the Middle East she began listening to Christian teachers and reading the Bible.
He said the woman had received threats from members of her faith for reading the Bible but had not converted to Christianity.
It is alleged she met Al Shawany, who she had first met overseas, at Warwick Farm railway station in September, 2002, after he told her he had some mail for her from overseas.
Al Shawany allegedly then took her to a Warwick Farm unit and pushed her in the head as she entered.
"She was wearing a hijab. The accused grabbed the hijab, the veil, and pulled it tight across her mouth," Mr O'Brien told the court.
"She fell to the floor and she couldn't scream because she had a hijab tight across her mouth."
Al Shawany allegedly raped the woman and later allegedly said: "Let your Jesus help you."
In a police interview, Al Shawany denied having sexual intercourse with the woman or threatening her.
Al Shawany's barrister Chris Pike told the court his client was a hardworking businessman with close ties to the community who strenuously denied the charges.
"My client is not a zealot," Mr Pike said.
The woman gave evidence in closed court yesterday and is expected to return to the witness stand when the trial before Judge David Knox continues today.