In the well-off quiet Buffalo suburb of Orchard Park, NY a woman was brutally decapitated at the young age of 37.
Her crime? Serving her abusive husband with divorce papers.
Justice? For this wife and mother of two – not likely.
Aasiya Hassan, the Muslim woman in question, was no stranger to her husband’s violent streaks. After multiple episodes of domestic violence, she filed for divorce in early February to escape her husband, Muzzammil Hassan’s, heavy hand. She also obtained an order of protection that barred him from their home, but still she was not safe.
On February 12, 2009, Hassan, 44, brutally beheaded his wife and then went to the Orchard Park Police station to report her death. Police found her at lying in the hallway of the offices of his TV studio – her head near the rest of her body.
Hassan now sits in jail facing second-degree murder charges. If convicted he faces up to life in prison – but he gets to keep his head.
Although vicious and unjust, reporting of this crime has been slow and lax by the media. It wasn’t until five days after the incident that the Associated Press or CNN released any stories of this should-of-been news breaking crime.
Their coverage, however, is disappointing and down right infuriating. The AP story, for example, opens with the irony of the crime – the fact that the man who beheaded his wife is also the founder of Bridges TV, the TV station he created to challenge and counter Muslim stereotypes. Fox News also reported on the crime, eventually, but focused on whether Aasiya’s death was considered an honor killing or not.
What about outrage at the beheading of an innocent woman (or anyone for that matter) in this day and age? How about a little bit of anger at the repeated abuse of this innocent woman and the police’s inability to protect her time and time again? Honor killing or domestic violence and all irony aside it all boils down to one thing – murder.
If I hadn’t stopped by one of my favorite blogs, I might have missed the news altogether myself. Luckily, the blogosphere exploded with the news and outrage at the story and lack of coverage.
NOW also released a statement on the crime, calling the media out for its silence and expressing outrage for Aasiya’s untimely and horrific death.
“NOW New York State is horrified that Erie County DA, Frank A. SeditaII, has referred to this ghastly crime as ‘the worst form of domestic violence possible.’ The ridiculous juxtaposition of ‘domestic’ and ‘beheading’ in the same journalistic breath points up the inherent weakness of the whole ‘domestic violence’ lexicon.
What is ‘domestic’ about this violence? NOW NYS President Marcia Pappas says ‘it is high time we stop regarding assaults and murders as a lover’s quarrels gone bad. We further demand of lawmakers that punishments fit crimes. We of NOW decry the selective enforcement of assault laws and call for judicial enforcement of our mandatory arrest policy, even when the axe-wielder is known by his victim.”
I couldn’t of said it better myself.
To ensure that justice is served please sign the Care2 petition calling for Mr. Hassan to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!
Photo by Tinou Bao used under a Creative Commons license.