Two Muslim brothers who claimed Australian law did not apply to them or their religion have been fined for contempt of court.
Mustapha and Diaa Kara-Ali reportedly laughed and began abusing the judge as the punishment was handed down in Sydney’s Land and Environment Court, after they were found guilty of felling trees without council permission.
The brothers had tried to argue the Islamic organisation they ran, Diwan Al Dawla, was exempt from Australian law on religious grounds and they were free to develop their rural retreat – which included clearing native trees – as they saw fit.
The court ruled otherwise, ABC News Australia reports.
In sentencing the two men on Thursday, Justice Terence Sheahan said the pair only engaged in the court process “following my reluctant decision to have you arrested … to address the problems you’ve created”, describing their contempt of the court as “flagrant”.
In his published reasons, Justice Sheahan said the brothers’ claim they do not have to comply with Australian law is false.
“In December 2017, the Australian National Imams Council (‘ANIC’), with the assistance of the NSW Judicial Commission, prepared a document entitled ‘Explanatory Note on the Judicial Process and Participation of Muslims’,” he wrote.
“The note clearly envisages that Muslims in Australia will often be expected to participate in court processes.
“It even stresses that there are many similarities between the Western tradition and the Muslim concept of justice.”
The brothers were also accused of trapping a man who had delivered court documents on the property by padlocking the gates while he was inside.
A furious Mustapha Kara-Ali later left the court telling reporters: “The cross does not belong on public institutions… Our religion is prime, the cross belongs in the dustbin of history.”
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