AN Iraqi immigrant has claimed he was acting under the dictates of Islamic law when he allegedly fiddled more than £35,000 in benefits.
Majid Hussain was paid income support, housing and council tax benefits for 13 year while keeping a secret bank account which doubled from £18,000 to £36,000, the court heard.
The 62-year-old told a jury he did not consider the money his own because it was left in a trust by his father for the education of his four children.
Hussain said he had a duty under Islamic law and his own culture to honour his oath to preserve the funds for his kids, aged between nine and 18.
He arrived in Britain as a mature student in 1986 and has not worked since.
Malcolm Galloway, prosecuting, said: ”This case is not about religion or culture. It is to do with honesty and dishonesty.
“He is not a man who likes to give a straight answer. He goes round and round looking for excuses.”
Within weeks of the the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) discovering the account, Hussain withdrew around £15,000, apparently for his own use, Mr Galloway added.
Hussain signed forms every year which stated that he did not have any undeclared bank accounts.
But he told the jury his father gave him funds when he came to Britain for his children’s education, even though at the time he was not married and did not have any offspring.
Hussain, who married his British wife in 1991 and lives in Exeter, said: “I promised him on the Koran. I read the Koran and you have a duty to obey your parents.
“It is part of Islamic culture and tribal culture.
“Allah commands you to render back your trust to those to whom they are due and not to break your oath. I had to carry out this agreement in the name of God.
“This money was not mine. It was from my father to my children for when they go to university.
“It was not my money and it did not cross my mind when I signed the forms.”
Hussain denies three counts of dishonestly claiming a total of more than £35,000 between 1997 and 2010 in the case at Exeter Crown Court.
His income support was cut off after the account was discovered in 2010 but he is still claiming disability living allowance as he suffers from Crohn’s Disease, kidney problems and muscle pain.
The case continues.
In: Regional News, Other News, Religion
Tags: Immigrant, accused, benefits, cheat, acted, Islamic law, islam, muslim
Location: Exeter, England, United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
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