Did we ever bother to know Muzzammil?


Originally published in http://zerqaabid.blogspot.com/

mhassan

Written by ZERQA ABID, http://zerqaabid.blogspot.com/

Muzzammil Hassan, the owner and CEO of Bridges TV has been arrested for beheading his wife, Aasiya Zubair.

Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajaiun, indeed everything belongs to Allah (God) and to Him we will return.

This is the news of the year that has once again damaged not only the Muslim image in American society, but it has also damaged our trust and the hope that we place in American Muslim leadership.

It’s been five days now that my family along with the whole American Muslim community has been in shock. The fact that Muzzammil was married to my first cousin before marrying the victim still horrifies us. Ms. Zubair was his third wife. Both of his earlier wives filed divorce on the same grounds of severe domestic violence and abuses.

My cousin lived with him for only a year. Yet, it took her several years to get rid of the fear of living with a man in marriage. He was known as violent and abusive in the community. He had nothing to do with Islam. He had changed his name from Syed Muzzammil Hassan to Mo Steve Hassan. He had no background of community service or involvement in the Mosque or in any other organization. Neither his character and nor his faith were sound. In addition, he had no background or expertise in TV production or media.

But it did not matter. Even with this bad reputation, horrible background and lack of experience in media market, he still got the stage at the most reputable American Muslim conventions. Our leaders and established organizations did not bother to vet him. No questions or flags were raised about him. He was introduced at these conventions with huge respect and the Muslim community was told to give him generous funds for Bridges TV.

The American Muslim community, desperate for its own English channel in the United States, said yes to the call and collected millions of dollars and handed it over to him. I personally know people who collected fifty thousand or more in a day or two for this cause. It was not Hassan, the donors but trusted the organizations standing behind him.

Muzzammil Hassan put that money in his personal pocket and moved into a huge property with stables and horses. Nobody was there to question that how much money was spent on the actual project and how much was spent on his new but lavish lifestyle. None of our organizations bothered to look into it and inform their members of any concerns.

I was mostly in Pakistan in that period. After resigning from NBC News, I went to Pakistan for a couple of years. I was working as General Manager of The City Channel of ARY Digital in 2004, when I heard about the Bridges TV. I thought it must be a project of Islamic Broadcasting Network, since I did not see any link on Sound Vision’s website. But I was surprised to hear that none of our longtime organizations were part of this channel and nobody knew the owner for long time.

The surprise was changed into shock and worry when I learned that Bridges TV was owned and operated by the same Muzzammil Hassan who I knew as a serious criminal. To me domestic violence is a serious crime and a person’s character must be judged by the way he deals with his family. At my return, I warned some community leaders, but the response was not encouraging. People told me that his personal life may be messed up, but he is doing a good job so we should support him no matter what.

This support was so overwhelming that he was presented with awards too. Now the pictures of award ceremonies are coming back to haunt us and some of them are already posted on blogs after the murder of Ms. Zubair. One of the headlines reads: Bridges TV CEO Arrested for Beheading Wife Received Award from …

Bridges TV’s website requests to respect family’s privacy. In this case, unfortunately, this cannot be done. There is no privacy for people who promote themselves as leaders of the community and take people’s money on the promise of investing it in the community projects.
This murder might not have cost us as much if Muzzammil was just an ordinary Muslim. Instead, unfortunately, he was a trusted and respected member of the American Muslim community.

The Vice President of Islamic Society of North America, Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, has posted an open letter on ISNA’s website. He writes, “Our community needs to take strong stand against abusive spouses and we should not make it easy for them to remarry if they chose a path of abusive behavior.”

What about making community leadership easy for them, Imam?

Shouldn’t Islamic organizations also take responsibility of vetting new comers before presenting them on the stage? Common people rely on organizational leadership and judgment.
Vetting of community leader has been established since the time of Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) and is now in practice within the conscious communities all over the world. The Obama administration is going through the same process. Whenever it is not done properly it causes trouble and embarrassment as we have recently witnessed in the case of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

It’s always better to be safe than be sorry. It’s important for the American Muslim organizations to improve themselves on this ground too. We have no option but to live up to this standard.

As my heart goes out to Aasiya’s family and children, I recognize this not only as their personal loss, but as a huge loss for our American Muslim Community at large: A loss of a project needed now more than ever before; a loss of financial resources that can never be collected again with the same trust and passion; and a loss of respect for an American Islamic channel and the intentions behind it.

May Allah forgive us for our shortcomings. May He grant us patience and replace the loss with something better and beneficial, amen

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Did we ever bother to know Muzzammil?

  1. Wajahat Ali,

    Everyone is terribly shocked by this profound tragedy and I join the family of Aasiya Zubair and the whole American Muslim community in this strong stand against domestic violence

    I read in your post regarding the Respected Vice President of Islamic Society of North America, Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, comments and respect his efforts in seeking to address this issue as what he has mentioned

    All our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with Aasiya Zubair Family and Children; it is indeed a profound loss for the American Muslim Community at large as you have mentioned

    While I heard this, I found this to be the very most challenging; in fact challenge is not the word; it is very difficult to express or what to say, really this is one of the very difficult moments of our lifetime to have this happening

    I just don’t have any words to say since I am truly at a loss of words completely. I sincerely hope my perspective is understood for why I am unable to express any words. I am overcome by profound sadness and experience grief and lament with a sense of extreme sorrow

    Sometimes, I wonder where is Humanity heading? How could this ever happen? How could these things ever happen? But now reading your post, one is able to know more about Muzzammil Hassan, this is clearly showing us the truth, of how one individual has taken such terrible actions on his own without taking into consideration the sentiments and profound impact that this has created to the Family of Aasiya Zubair, the Children and The American Muslim Community

    He has taken one of the greatest sinful paths on his own in a very horrible way, there are no words to express what he has done, it is extremely very challenging. It is he who is to be blamed completely for this terrible action; he and only he is to be held entirely liable and responsible

    I stand by The American Muslim Community. I have always admired The American Muslim Community for its peaceful efforts at all times and can understand how challenging this is

    May God give Aasiya Zubair’s Children and Family the strength to face this challenging time with courage; Peace

    To the Family of Aasiya Zubair and her Children

    Please accept my deepest and heartfelt condolence at this very most difficult time; Sympathy and Sincere Condolences; May our prayers bring peace and provide them the strength and courage to face this extremely challenging time with courage

    Truly this is a profound tragedy for everyone;

    With extreme sadness and distress;

    Vashi

  2. Dear Wajahat,

    Out of all the material I have read, yours was the most useful. We DEFINITELY need to vet out our leaders. We are too scared about the current events and media attacks on us at the same time.

    The guilt of both Asiya’s personal loss and the loss of community is our own and we need to own up to our role as a community. We have heard too many cases of domestic abuse: have either averted our eyes or been too embarressed to blackball them in the community. We should go as far as officially register domestic abuse cases in masjids so that the community can be aware of the defects in the person before considering marriages. This may seem extreme but domestic abuse is NOT s domestic issue- it scars the entire community and society and should not be allowed to happen. Children of domestic abuse are further going to damage the society as adults – and the cycle will continue.

    As for our leaders and the money we give them to represent us – we need to be more interested in their background and personal life and stop just caring about how many and where they got they degrees. These people are representing our values and if they go down, they will drag us with them. It is sheer laziness that prevents most of us from taking a more active part and personally getting involved in our community building efforts.

    Wajahat, try to send out your article to as many forums possible. Your advice is sound.

  3. Excellent article, and I must point out that this phenomenon is rampant. Anyone these days can be a “Muslim community leader” without any vetting whatsoever. No one bothers to examine the personal lives of these individuals especially when they are men. This is due to the rampant male chauvinism in the Muslim community. If a woman even points out that someone “prominent” is a sleazebag, everyone looks the other way, and continues to invite these individuals as keynote speakers at events where they are held up as role models. It’s really pretty disgusting that Muslims in the West still have not put their cultural baggage behind and don’t even try to adhere to the highest ideals of Islam, something we are all free to do in the West, otherwise why would our parents’ generation have emigrated here?

  4. Islam and Muslim are both clear fuc ups. All Muslims need to be pushed to their Allahlands. They have no business being in the non Muslim countries like US, UK, India, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, etc. Muslim is unable to live in non Muslim cultures for which he has no respect.

  5. Excellent article, and good comments

    BTW this article is not written by Wajahat. It is written by Zerqa Abid as it has been mentioned on the top of the post.

  6. Please kindly understand, that all Religions MUST be

    RESPECTED; Respect Please, Respect Please and over

    over again Respect Please

    I repeat, please, all Religions MUST be RESPECTED

    PLEASE, PLEASE AND PLEASE

    God is One, we worship God by calling upon God’s

    greatness with different but Humble words

    Kindly remember it is the Humility; We are on this

    earthly realm for recognizing our higher

    purpose in Life; to Love and Respect

    What has been mentioned by michaelzw0; is very wrong

    and unacceptable – very unfair and very very wrong

    this is not the correct way please

    It is very extremely wrong please, why and how could

    such words be expressed please?

    The very thought is such a great sin, then howcome

    this type of expression? I am really very

    sad and experience anguish after having read such

    remarks and totally disagree with this

    person for such irresponsible and totally wrong

    remarks; absolutely wrong

    Why should such a Great Religion and its Admirable,

    Peace Loving and Respectable People be commented upon

    like this please? Why Please? Why?

    Kindly understand the sentiments and the immense

    values that are belonging to each Religion;

    Please Respect them Please, Please and time and again

    Please, Please kindly Understand

    Everything we think, talk, do, act, commit should be

    in the Very Best Interests of Humanity

    Everyone is terribly shocked by this profound tragedy

    and I join the family of Aasiya Zubair and the whole

    American Muslim community in this strong stand

    against domestic violence

    I read the Respected Vice President of Islamic

    Society of North America, Imam Mohamed Hagmagid

    Ali, comments and respect his efforts in seeking to

    address this issue as what he has mentioned

    At this moment, it is a very tragic moment for

    everyone and not a moment to comment with such

    harsh and irresponsible words please, in fact at no

    time – Never should any such words be

    ever thought about or mentioned please, kindly

    Respect please, Respect Please, Respect Please

    Respect is extremely Important Please, kindly

    Understand

    I just don’t have any words to say even now I am

    truly at a loss of words completely.

    I sincerely hope my perspective is understood for why

    I am unable to express any words. that at this moment

    we are all grieving this terrible loss and such

    comments? Really very sad and distressing, why

    do certain people think in this way please

    I am still overcome by profound sadness and

    experience grief and lament with a sense of extreme

    sorrow The person who has committed this action as

    the person who has expressed the comments may have

    read in this post which clearly reflects

    the truth that Muzzammil Hassan has taken such

    terrible actions on his own without taking into

    consideration the sentiments and profound impact that

    this has created to the Family of Aasiya

    Zubair, the Children and The American Muslim Community

    He has taken one of the greatest sinful paths on his

    own in a very horrible way, repeat on

    his own; there are no words to express what he has

    done, it is extremely very challenging.

    It is he who is to be blamed completely for this

    terrible action; he and only he is to be held

    entirely liable and responsible; time and again, it

    is Muzzammil Hassan and ONLY Muzzammil Hassan who is

    completely Responsible and Liable for this horrible

    crime

    I stand by The American Muslim Community. I have

    always admired The American Muslim Community

    for its peaceful efforts at all times and can

    understand how challenging this is

    Muslim’s are peace loving people, please kindly do

    not use any harsh words; it hurts all of us

    I have equal Love and Respect for all Religions;

    always and always

    How can michaelzw0 speak such harsh words please?

    And please have the highest consideration and

    Importantly Respect Please when you mention

    anything

    Where there is Love, there is Life;

    Where there is Life; there is Love, Hope, Inspiration

    and Wisdom

    Love heals; Respect is Extremely Important Please

    Does michaelzw0 know what is hate;

    the meaning of hate when it is spelt one by one is

    deficient

    H for Having

    A for Another

    T for Terrible

    E for Experience

    Please visit this web site where I have put up a

    petition requesting for People to spread the

    awareness that hate is

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/hate-please-think-carefully-again-please

    I stand by The American Muslim Community. I have

    always admired The American Muslim Community

    for its peaceful efforts at all times and can

    understand how challenging this is

    Time and Again, I repeat, I stand by The American

    Muslim Community.

    I have always admired The American Muslim Community

    for its peaceful efforts at all times and can

    understand how challenging this is

    I have done my very best to explain to this

    individual – michaelzw0; in the few humble words

    Expressed above;that what has been commented is

    totally and very wrong – is completely wrong –

    absolutely very wrong

    michaelzw0 – please remember, that what one does

    comes back to the person

    michaelzw0 – please remember that what one gives; one

    receives in return

    I sincerely hope that a greater understanding is

    established and prevails; Please join us all

    in praying for Universal Happiness and Harmony always

    May there always be Greater Understanding, Love and

    Respect all across the Universe always

    Thank you

    Love and Light; God Bless one and all

    Once again;

    May God give Aasiya Zubair’s Children and Family the

    strength to face this challenging time with courage;

    Peace

    To the Family of Aasiya Zubair and her Children

    Please accept my deepest and heartfelt condolence at

    this very most difficult time; Sympathy and Sincere
    Condolences; May our prayers bring peace and provide

    them the strength and courage to face this extremely

    challenging time with courage

    Truly this is a profound tragedy for everyone;

    With extreme sadness and distress;

    Vashi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s