Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Founder of Islamic TV station, Muzzammil Hassan, has confessed to beheading wife in Buffalo NY, his TV Station balanced negative portrayals of Muslims

NEW YORK (CNN) --February 17th, 2009. The founder of an Islamic television station in upstate New York (Buffalo) aimed at countering Muslim stereotypes has confessed to the horrific murder of beheading his wife, authorities said. It was Aasiya Hassan who encouraged her businessman husband, Muzzammil Hassan, to launch the cable channel, Bridges TV.

Muzzammil Hassan was charged with second-degree murder after police found the decapitated body of his wife, Aasiya Hassan, at the Bridges TV station in the Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, said Andrew Benz, Orchard Park's police chief. Hassan was arrested Thursday.

His wife filed for divorce January 6, and police had responded to several domestic violence calls at the couple's home, Benz said. Aasiya Hassan had obtained an order of protection on Feb. 6, barring her husband from their home in Orchard Park, police said.

Hassan went directly to the police station after his wife's death and confessed to
killing her, Benz told CNN. Benz declined to give further details. He had two children, 4 and 6, with his wife. He had two other children, 17 and 18, from his previous marriage.

He launched Bridges TV, billed as the first English-language cable channel targeting Muslims inside the United States, in 2004. At the time, Hassan said he hoped the network would balance negative portrayals of Muslims following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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. Published reports said that the venture was seeking new investors and battling cable carriers for access to a bigger audience. In late 2006 a report in Arab News quoted Hassan saying he was trying to raise $5 million from investors in Saudi Arabia.

Bridges TV CEO Arrested for Beheading Wife Received Award from CAIR US News. The founder and CEO of the Islamist channel Bridges TV, arrested for beheading his wife after she filed for divorce, was given an award in 2007 by the Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

See also...Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence? by Phyllis Chesler, Middle East QuarterlySpring 2009. On February 12, 2009, Muzzammil Hassan informed police that he had beheaded his wife. Hassan had emigrated to the United States 30 years ago and, after a successful banking career, had founded Bridges TV, a Muslim-interest network which aims, according to its website, "to foster a greater understanding among many cultures and diverse populations."

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III told The Buffalo News that "this is the worst form of domestic violence possible," and Khalid Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, told the New York Post that Islam forbids such domestic violence. While Muslim advocacy organizations argue that honor killings are a misnomer stigmatizing Muslims for what is simply domestic violence, a problem that has nothing to do with religion, Phyllis Chesler, who just completed a study of more than 50 instances of North American honor killings, says the evidence suggest otherwise. — The Editors, Middle East Quarterly.

"When a husband murders a wife or daughter in the United States and Canada, too often law enforcement chalks the matter up to domestic violence. Murder is murder; religion is irrelevant. Honor killings are, however, distinct from wife battering and child abuse"..see complete article click here. Phyllis Chesler is emerita professor of psychology and women's studies at the Richmond College of the City University of New York and co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women's Health Network.

Bill Warner
private investigator