Hazem el-Masri, the legendary rugby league winger who was a central figure in the sport’s community campaigns, has been charged with serious domestic violence offences.
Two charges were laid over “an incident at his home at about 7.30pm yesterday allegedly involving his 25 year-old wife”, a police spokeswoman told the SMH.
The charges are assault causing actual bodily harm and common assault. He will appear in court tomorrow.
El-Masri, who retired in 2009, was involved in campaigns against domestic violence and was an ambassador for the White Ribbon campaign.
During his playing career el-Masri, who was described as a “gentlemen of the code”, was known as one of the greatest point scorers in the game. In the 2004 season he scored 139 goals alone.
The former footballer has three children Lamya, Zayd and Serine to his former wife Arwa.
In an interview with NewsCorp in 2011, discussing Arwa’s new book: Tea with Arwa, el-Masri talked about the misconceptions people make about his culture and why abuse starts with a person, not a religion.
“Out there in every culture, every religion, there are men that are abusive. Not because of their religion tells them so – in fact, their religion tells them not to. Our prophet, peace be upon him, Mohammed, on his death-bed his last wish was: ‘Look after your ladies’.”
Arwa added to this: “That doesn’t mean ‘take care of them because they’re defenceless’, it means ‘treat them well’. That’s all.”
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