The alleged beheading of a Buffalo woman by her estranged husband – a Muslim man who founded a TV station committed to creating bridges of understanding between Muslims and other Americans – is a news story rife with irony.
As reported in last week's Sunday Star, Muzzammil Hassan has been charged with second-degree murder in the decapitation death of Aasiya Hassan, who had recently filed for divorce and obtained an order of protection that barred Hassan from their home. The ironic element that made this news is that Hassan, in part inspired by his wife's distress over the negative image of Muslims in the wake of 9/11, launched Bridges TV in 2004 to provide more positive images of American Muslims.
And now, this tragedy has sparked headlines throughout the world, linking Hassan to the most negative stereotypes of Islam. Reports focused mainly on two questions: was this an "honour killing" linked to some barbaric interpretation of Islam or, given reports of past violence in the Hassan home, was this a horrific example of domestic violence?
Not surprisingly, Muslim leaders across North America are greatly troubled by media coverage that links this murder to the Muslim faith. They urge the media to look beyond stereotypes of Islam here.