“I am totally stunned. They were really more than married — they encouraged each other in everything.” Probably she didn't encourage him in this.
Friends expressed shock on Friday that the founder of a Muslim TV channel — which he launched in order to counter violent images of Muslims — has been arrested in his wife’s brutal slaying.
Detectives have charged Muzzammil Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder after his wife was found beheaded Thursday at the offices of the cable channel, Bridges TV, in the Village of Orchard Park.
The victim was identified as Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37.
Police said they continued to search for the murder weapon on Friday and refused to discuss further details of the killing.
“I am totally stunned,” said Samira Khatib, a friend of the couple, who lives in Hamburg. “They were really more than married — they encouraged each other in everything.”
It was Aasiya Hassan who encouraged her businessman husband to launch the cable channel, she said. “She was such a lovely person.”
Muzzammil Hassan launched the channel in 2004 in hopes of dispelling stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists, and balancing widespread images of Muslim extremism with moderate viewpoints.
Aasiya Hassan had filed for divorce and obtained an order of protection on Feb. 6, barring her husband from their home in Orchard Park, police said.
“There had been problems before — there had been prior incidents of physical abuse,” said Corey Hogan, whose law firm, Hogan Willig, represented Aasiya Hassan in the divorce proceeding....
The television channel, which Hassan had founded after leaving a job at M&T Bank, had been under financial strain, said Khalid J. Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York....
In late 2006 a report in Arab News quoted Hassan saying he was trying to raise $5 million from investors in Saudi Arabia....
Ah. Very moderate.
And now for the obligatory mainstream media exoneration of Islam:
It would be a mistake to link an act of domestic violence to the couple’s religion, he added.
“There is no place for domestic violence in our religion — none,” Qazi said. “Islam would 100 percent condemn it.”
The Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences has determined that over ninety percent of Pakistani wives have been struck, beaten, or abused sexually — for offenses on the order of cooking an unsatisfactory meal. Others were punished for failing to give birth to a male child. Dominating their women by violence is a prerogative Muslim men cling to tenaciously. In Spring 2005, when the East African nation of Chad tried to institute a new family law that would outlaw wife beating, Muslim clerics led resistance to the measure as un-Islamic.
Why do things like this happen?
Because Islamic clerics worldwide have spoken approvingly of wife-beating.
In 2004, an imam in Spain, Mohammed Kamal Mustafa, was found guilty of “inciting violence on the basis of gender” for his book Women in Islam, which discussed the methods and limits of administering “physical punishment” of women.
Muslim men bring this religiously sanctioned violence with them when they immigrate to the West, even to the United States. The prominent American Muslim leader Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, former president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), has said that “in some cases a husband may use some light disciplinary action in order to correct the moral infraction of his wife…The Koran is very clear on this issue.”
In 1984, Sheikh Yousef Qaradhawi, who is one of the most respected and influential Islamic clerics in the world, wrote: “If the husband senses that feelings of disobedience and rebelliousness are rising against him in his wife, he should try his best to rectify her attitude by kind words, gentle persuasion, and reasoning with her. If this is not helpful, he should sleep apart from her, trying to awaken her agreeable feminine nature so that serenity may be restored, and she may respond to him in a harmonious fashion. If this approach fails, it is permissible for him to beat her lightly with his hands, avoiding her face and other sensitive parts.”
Why do they say such things?
Because the permission to beat one’s wife is rooted in the Islamic holy book, the Qur'an, and Islamic tradition.
The Qur'an says: “Men shall take full care of women with the bounties which God has bestowed more abundantly on the former than on the latter, and with what they may spend out of their possessions. And the righteous women are the truly devout ones, who guard the intimacy which God has [ordained to be] guarded. And as for those women whose ill-will you have reason to fear, admonish them [first]; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them…” (4:34)
The Islamic prophet Muhammad was once told that “women have become emboldened towards their husbands,” whereupon he “gave permission to beat them” (Sunan Abu Dawud, book 11, no. 2141). He was unhappy with the women who complained, not with their husbands who beat them.
Muhammad even struck his favorite wife, Aisha. One night, thinking she was asleep, he went out. Aisha surreptitiously followed him. When he found out what she had done, he hit her: “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” (Sahih Muslim, book 4, no. 2127).
Nothing in there about beheading, no. But the man was talking about domestic violence.
Why does this matter? Because as long as no one has the courage to call Muslim leaders like Qazi to account for statements like this, and ask them about the clear justifications for domestic violence that do appear in Islamic tradition, what can possibly be done to combat the prevalence of domestic violence in Islamic communities? Ignoring the Islamic justifications for domestic violence harms Muslim women.