Muslims often face an uphill struggle to counter the black mark left on their image by terrorists. Muzzammil Hassan appeared to be one of the leading Muslims in fighting those stereotypes. Muzzammil Hassan founded Bridges TV in London, which depicted the positive actions of those in the Muslim community.
Helped by his wife, Aasiya Hassan, Muzzammil Hassan was a major media figure for the Muslim world. But today, Muzzammil Hassan is an accused murderer of his wife, charged with a kind of killing that has helped further negative opinions of Muslims.
Muzzammil Hassan came to police last week and told them his wife, Aasiya Hassan, was dead. Worse yet, she had been beheaded. Now, police feel that they have enough cause to charge Muzzammil Hassan with the murder, as a potential “honor killing.”
According to Aasiya Hassan’s lawyer, she was in the process of filing for divorce from her husband. The Hassan’s had been together for eight years, but Aasiya alleged that she had suffered years of domestic abuse from Muzzammil. He had been barred from the family home the Friday before Aasiya was killed.
The murder weapon has not been found, with an autopsy pending to determine if Aasiya was killed before the beheading took place.
If it can be proven that Hassan killed his wife, it would be labeled as an “honor killing” in which a Muslim is killed by a member of his or her own family. The practice is most regularly used to kill Muslim women, as their father or husband deems it necessary to defend their family’s honor.
Muslim women are often targeted for honor killings for so-called crimes like seeking employment, assimilating into Western culture, and dating non-Muslims. Aasiya Hassan was seeking a divorce, which could be seen as a great form of dishonor in the traditional Muslim world.
Honor killings number in the thousands or more around the world, with a few cases taking place in the United States as well. These actions help contribute to the negative view that the West often has of Muslims.
Muzzammil Hassan sought to balance those negative stories by forming Bridges TV with Aasiya in 2004. Hassan graduated from business school in 1996, and was said to be inspired to form Bridges TV after hearing negative comments on American Muslims on the radio.
Hassan used fundraising in the Muslim community to keep the station afloat. But it was in the station’s headquarters where the body of Aasiya Hassan, as well as her head, was found.
Hassan was remanded into the Erie County holding center, charged with second degree murder. The fate of their two children, aged 4 and 6, is also scheduled to be decided in family court.
Times Online- “Muslim TV boss Muzzammil Hassan charged with beheading his wife” www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5753440.ece
SF Gate- “Honor killings: When the ancient and the modern collide” www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi
FOX News- “Muslim Television Channel Founder Charged With Beheading His Wife” www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,493645,00.html