(HH: Full disclosure; the author of this piece is rumoured to have his own issues with violence and women but I cannot confirm or deny that. The piece itself is very interesting as much for the mostly good analysis as for the appalling blind spots it shows to an Western reader.)
by Mauri’ Saalakhan
It is written that the preferred act of Iblis (the enemy of ALLAH, The Almighty, and all humanity) is the breakup of families, and causing separation between people in general.
The family, the nucleus of society, could be described as the most important institution in human civilization. The strength of a nation is determined in large part by the collective health and well being of the sum total of its families. It therefore makes sense that this would be a priority target for the Shayateen (Satan and his hordes).
(HH: It should be noted that to a Muslim a “family” means a MAN and his children and whatever woman or women he is married to at the moment. This is not a controversial statement at all. I merely relate established precedent in sharia law.)
The institution of family has been under siege around the world throughout most of human history. It serves in the modern world as a barometer of the troubling dichotomy that exists between material progress and social advancement. Racism, classism, sexism, materialism, and the often deadly and life changing social malady known as “spousal abuse,” are all manifestations of this troubling cross-cultural, world wide dichotomy!
Here in America, a week doesn’t go by without numerous reports in the mainstream media of horrific attacks committed by former lovers on former lovers. The victims (more often than not, young women of varying socio-economic and cultural hues) sustain serious injury or death at the hands of men who, for a variety of reasons, do not know how to love, or when to let go.
While the vast majority of these cases involve non-Muslims (Christians, Jews and others), rarely, if ever, do the religious beliefs of the assailant make the news. But in Post 9/11 America, whenever a Muslim is involved, religion will often become a front page issue!
A Time Bomb waiting to go off
It has now become clear, to this writer at least, that those who knew 44 year old Muzzammil “Mo” Hassan well could not have been truly shocked when he allegedly took the life of his third wife, Aasiya Zubair Hassan, 37. While they may be surprised by the way this bright young architect from Karachi lost her life, the profile which has emerged suggests that anyone who really knew “Mo” Hassan had to know that he was capable of committing murder.
The man who became variously known as Muzzammil Hassan, “Steve Hassan,” “Mo Hassan” and “Mo Steven Hassan,” was reportedly born on Nov. 6, 1964, and came to America from South Asia in 1979. He reportedly established roots in Rochester (NY), and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1985. In 1996, Hassan graduated from the Simon Graduate School of Business at the University of Rochester with an MBA. Despite these achievements, however, “Mo” had problems.
Hassan reportedly had two previous marriages; both unsuccessful, and both riddled with detailed allegations of violent abuse. His first marriage was to a Caucasion convert named Janice, with whom he bore two children (a son and daughter); the second was to a Pakistani woman named Sadia. Neither marriage lasted long.
(It’s been reported that Sadia’s family recently sacrificed two lambs in gratitude that she was able to escape her marriage alive, after about a year of unhappy matrimony.)
After Hassan’s marriage to his third wife, Aasiya, with whom he also had two children, they settled in Orchard Park, on the outskirts of Buffalo, New York – a predominately white, middle class community of about 30,000 residents.
On February 6, 2009, after years of documented abuse, Aasiya Hassan filed for divorce from Muzzammil Hassan. Six days later, Hassan reportedly walked into the Orchard Park police station to report that they could find the body of his 37 year old wife at the offices of Bridges TV, also located in Orchard Park. Hassan has since been charged with second-degree murder, and is currently being held without bail.
According to people who saw her in repose, Aasiya was buried with the unmistakable marks of raw brutality – i.e., gashes on her face and body, and with her head delicately repositioned over her body, because of the brutal way she had been murdered and decapitated at the company that she helped found with her estranged husband.
As details emerge regarding the troubled life she led with “Mo” Hassan, Aasiya Zubair Hassan has become a tool of convenience for some of the most vehement critics of Islam in America, and a lightning rod of recrimination within the Muslim community itself.
The failure of a community
In her report on the tragedy, Asra Nomani quotes Afshan Qureshi, the president of Saathi, an advocacy group in Rochester for domestic-violence victims, and a leader in the local Muslim community who helped Hassan’s second wife. “Our community failed. We punished the victims. People said the first marriage failed because the girl was American, the second marriage failed because the girl wasn’t patient enough and then, look, the third wife is happy. Everything is OK. The community is an accomplice in the story of Muzzammil Hassan.” Indeed it is…in more ways then one.
The tragedy was aided and abetted by clumsy attempts at secrecy; the type of secrecy routinely practiced by many communities around such serious societal issues as domestic violence and mental illness. However, both Muslims and non-Muslims were reportedly aware of the allegations of abuse in Hassan‘s third marriage. It is also known that the accused assailant was prescribed psychiatric medications for mood swings, and may have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Salahuddin Malik – a former State University of New York history professor, and currently chairman of the council of trustees at the Islamic Center of Rochester – reportedly believed in Hassan’s [Bridges TV] vision, and didn’t think a history of domestic violence should preclude him from realizing that vision. He reportedly stated, “You don’t want to get involved in personal matters.”
(HH: This is one of those appalling blind spots I spoke of. This bozo knew the man was a nutter but because it was something a Muslim considers “private” he jumped on board and helped this guy become a role model.)
Another Buffalo area Muslim leader reportedly told the Buffalo News (incredulously), “I think of Aasiya as a martyr.” Later adding, “If only Aasiya would have made some noise.” The problem with this line of thinking is that, while Aasiya repeatedly failed to follow through with formal charges against her abusive husband, she did make some noise…but to no avail.
(HH: 700 club types aside I think we can all agree that while the Muslim community immediately around him was primarily responsible the non-Muslim apathy toward crimes in “ethnic” contributed as well.)
Malik’s wife, Sarwat Malik, a physician who was also familiar with Muzzammil Hassan’s history of domestic violence, correctly opined that this dynamic [community silence and inaction] comes with a high socio-psychological cost:
“Everyone is suffering in silos. This should change. Women are battered in all cultures, and the common factor is the social sanction of violence against women.
(HH here: Umm no lady, YOUR community was criminally silent. our communities abhor such things which is why Western husbands who kill their wives usually try to hide the fact or go on to kill themselves. They do not brag about it or glory in it like Muslims and some others do.) As a community, we must bear a collective responsibility of keeping everyone safe. It cannot be done by a few organizations. It must be done by all, working together. We need to make it a whole community affair. Everyone must speak out that violence will not be tolerated.”
(HH again: Well you THINK lady? Welcome to something called reality!!!)
Dr. Malik’s observation reveals one of the core lessons connected to the Bridges tragedy. A genuine community must behave like a community…everyone bears a “collective responsibility” for keeping everyone else safe.
There are a number of other closely related lessons which also emanate from this terrible tragedy. In Part Two, insha’Allah, we will examine some of these ‘secondary issues of import.’