The Beheading Victim Was Also Muslim

Nearly a week after her husband allegedly cut off her head, Aasiya Zubair Hassan still smiles confidently into the camera for the high-resolution publicity photo available on the website of the TV station the couple started.

If you download the photo, you’ll discover that the filename is “Mo – Assiya – 3 – High.jpg”. It’s not clear whether “Assiya” is an alternative spelling that Aasiya would have accepted, or if it’s just one last indignity at the hand of someone working for her estranged husband, Muzzammil Hassan. That’s “Mo,” on the right.

The caption on the Bridges TV website reads:

Aasiya Zubair (left), wife of Bridges TV CEO Mo Hassan (right) played an instrumental role in the creation of Bridges TV since she came up with the idea for the network.

As Daniel Pipes, who has followed Bridges TV since its founding in 2004, notes:

Two sorts of public reactions to the murder are emerging: Spokesmen on behalf of Islamic organization emphasize that domestic violence happens in all communities and Muslims must pay it more attention, while women’s rights advocates focus on the Islamic element.

  • Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, vice-president of The Islamic Society of North America: “Domestic violence is a behavior that knows no boundaries of religion, race, ethnicity, or social status. Domestic violence occurs in every community. The Muslim community is not exempt from this issue. We, the Muslim community, need to take a strong stand against domestic violence. Unfortunately, some of us ignore such problems in our community, wanting to think that it does not occur among Muslims or we downgrade its seriousness.”
  • Marcia Pappas, New York State president of the National Organization for Women: “This was apparently a terroristic version of honor killing, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men. … Too many Muslim men are using their religious beliefs to justify violence against women.”

I’ve been critical in the past about what I saw as insufficient Muslim condemnation of terrorism, but I have no quarrel with the ISNA statement above. The spokesman calls for Muslims to condemn domestic violence and not to pretend it doesn’t happen in the Muslim community. I don’t blame him for emphasizing, correctly, that men in other cultures also kill their wives.

I’m late to this story, but it’s not going away soon. It’s coming out now that this was his third marriage, and he was violent with his previous wives as well. Phyllis Chesler, who after the murder apparently accelerated publication of her study “Are Honor Killings Simply Domestic Violence?” (she votes No), has called on bloggers and reporters to help advance the narrative.

In 2004, Hassan said the station was started because

“There should be a Muslim media so that Muslim children growing up in America grow up with the self confidence and high self esteem about their identity both as Americans and as Muslims.”

If “Mo” is in fact the killer, surely he must have known that the stereotypical manner of his crime would set that worthy cause back. At one time, Mo felt secure enough in his masculinity and his marriage and his culture to pose with his unveiled, lipsticked wife and credit her with the idea for the company he headed. It’s hard to reconcile that with what he allegedly did last week.

8 thoughts on “The Beheading Victim Was Also Muslim

  1. I’m not sure if my prior comment actually posted or got lost, so I may be repeating myself. I agree with Mohamed Hagmagid Ali. I think the shock value of this one is that he beheaded his wife. Men beat or kill their (usually) estranged wives every single day. But we equate beheading with terrorism and terrorism with Islamic Jihads. I’ve been studying many different religion in search of the right one for me. I’m not considering becoming a Muslim, although Buddhism has its appeal. But I’ve read about the Muslim faith, and I would say that a true Muslim would never be intentionally violent toward any other human being — it would be contradictory to what he was taught to believe.

  2. Joni, best wishes on your spiritual journey. Here are some readings from the Qur’an regarding intentional violence toward other human beings:

    Sura (4:89) – “They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): But take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of Allah (From what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.”

    Sura (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

    Sura (9:5) – “So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them.”

    Source: The Qur’an

  3. Paul, Wikipedia has the answer:

    1. First Degree Murder: Murder involving special circumstances, such as murder of a police officer, judge, fireman or witness to a crime; multiple murders; and torture or especially heinous murders. Note that a “regular” premeditated murder, absent such special circumstances, is not a first-degree murder; murders by poison or “lying in wait” are not per se first-degree murders. …
    2. Second Degree Murder: Any premeditated murder or felony murder that does not involve special circumstances.

    That’s the standard in New York, where this crime occurred. In some other states, first-degree simply indicates premeditated.

  4. The difference between most “standard” domestic violence killings is that a woman’s head is not removed.

    This is a distinctly disturbing Islamic occurrence.

    I think that Islam gives men who have a tendency toward violence the excuse to abuse and belittle (and yes kill) their wives. It is a sickness.

  5. Domestic violence and spousal murder show no religious boundaries. It’s happening again right now. Beheading is not so unusual and neither is dismemberment or bodies that are never found.

    This is a common occurance when couples are divorcing and is becoming even more common every day.(Drew Peterson, Shon Pernice, Scott Peterson, etc. and on and on. Most cases involve a controlling husband who is losing control. He is facing a life without his family and half of his assets along with child support. The choice he makes is divorce or murder!

    I’m not so much trying to “drive traffic” but if you want information on just how this happens across the board, please go to We have several members well known in the field of domestic violence as well as missing persons.

    Also, where I have researched and written about bunches of cases where wives are murdered and never found.

    Domestic violence knows no religious or socio-economic boundaries. It is happening everywhere and just because this case involves a beheading does not mean that it was a terrorist act or honor killing. It means that another mother has lost her battle and there are children who will never, ever get over it.

  6. 不同的世界,不同的夢想 Der sportliche rirhetlicte Kampf weckt beste menschliche Eigenschaften. Er trennt nicht, sondern eint die Gegner in gegenseitigem Verstehen und beiderseitiger Hochachtung. Auch hilft er mit, zwischen den V lkern Bande des Friedens zu k

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