Muslim Claims He Didn't Know Rape Was Illegal; Spared Prison by UK Court

An 18-year-old man in the U.K. who raped a 13-year-old girl was spared a prison sentence by Nottingham Crown Court after he claimed that his Muslim upbringing did not teach him to respect women.

"Although chronologically 18, it is quite clear from the reports that you are very naive and immature when it comes to sexual matters," Judge Michael Stokes said when handing Adil Rashid a suspended sentence.

Rashid claimed in his defense that he met his 13-year-old victim through Facebook and the two exchanged messages for two months, before they met up in Nottingham. The teen admitted to having sex with the girl, but said that he was not aware that the activity was illegal and constituted rape, because he was raised with a Muslim education and was not aware of the law.

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The Daily Mail reported that such crimes usually result in a four- to seven-year prison sentence, but because the judge deemed that Rashid was "passive" and "lacking assertiveness," it would be unwise to send him to haul because it might cause him "more damage than good."

The 13-year-old girl, who was not named, confessed to having a sexual encounter with the man to a school friend, who informed one of her teachers. This eventually led to Rashid's arrest.

In court, the 18-year-old said that he received his education at an Islamic school within the U.K., and had "little experience of women." The school, which also could not be named, apparently taught him that "women are no more worthy than a lollipop that has been dropped on the ground."

The man claims that he found out that his actions were illegal only after a family member told him so.

Judge Stokes initially said that Rashid "must have known it was illegal, unless he was going round with his eyes shut," but defense lawyer Laban Leake successfully argued that his client had a "degree of sexual naivety."

The Sun added that Rashid also said the girl had "tempted" him into sex and that he later said that he felt bad for his actions.

"I accept this was a case where the girl was quite willing to have sexual activity with you. But the law is there to protect young girls, even though they are perfectly happy to engage in sexual activity," Stokes concluded.

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