Manchester (UK) 28/07/12: A muslim preacher who threatened to kill his daughter after she refused an arranged marriage has been spared jail. Abid Hussain, 56, grabbed his daughter by the throat and said ‘follow my rules or I’ll kill you’ in the row at their home above the mosque he runs in Northmoor Road, Longsight, Manchester.
The victim, Rabiyah Abid, 16, was in a romance with a student she met on Facebook – and had previously run away from home to be with him. She had refused to stop contacting him, prompting her brothers, who felt she had brought shame on the family, to beat her up days after her dad had threatened her, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Dad-of-five Hussain ended up in the dock alongside his sons, Nawab Uddin, 23, and Bahaud Uddin, 21, who is an Islamic scholar. All three men were found guilty of assault. Hussain was also found guilty of making threats to kill, while his sons were cleared of robbery.
The trio were each given suspended sentences by Judge Michael Leeming, who told them that the girl was ‘entitled to make her own decisions and her own mistakes’. The trial heard the girl lived in a ‘very male-dominated, patriarchal household’ where she was ‘exhausted’ by cooking and cleaning.
She had been ‘betrothed’ by her father to his sister’s son in Pakistan at just 15 years old but, in May last year, ended up falling for a student she had met online. In November, while her father was celebrating Eid in Pakistan, the man travelled from London to Oldham to stay with a pal, and the girl left her home to stay with him.
This prompted her brother Nawab to report her missing. When police traced her she told them of her fears that she would be forced to marry when she had finished her GCSEs, and they helped her obtain a Forced Marriage Protection Order, served on her father. On December 26, her father drew the curtains at her home and lunged at her. She later said that she thought she would be killed and ‘put under the ground’.
Andrew Nuttall, defending Mr Hussain, said his client was a ‘most excellent person’ and dedicated community volunteer who ‘fell short as a father’ on one occasion. Mr Nuttall said that the family had been ‘ripped asunder’ by a predicament ‘few mothers and fathers could not relate to’.
The court heard both Nawab, and Bahaud Uddin continue to maintain their innocence to assault charges – and their belief in arranged marriage. Nawab was said to have been a ‘father figure’ to the girl, while Bahaud was said to have kept the family together when their dad was held on remand.
Passing sentence, Judge Leeming said he hoped the three men would ‘reflect on the seriousness of the situation’. Nawab must serve a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 12 months’ supervision and 100 hours’ unpaid work. Bahaud must serve a three-month sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Ordering Hussain to serve a nine-month jail sentence, suspended for a year, the judge told him that he was a man of ‘obvious standing’ and strict religious and cultural beliefs who had tried to coerce his daughter ‘into conforming to your own beliefs and private arrangements’.