Thursday, August 28, 2008

Buffalo: Principal of Islamic school ousted after taking student as second "wife"

Dhimmi Watch

Many aspects of this story raise an eyebrow, but one item in particular is that "Interviews with several Muslims reveal a mixed view on additional marriages under Islamic law. Some said it is not allowed under United States law and therefore is forbidden; others said it can be permissible under Islamic law anyway. We have seen this before, of course, and will certainly see it again, unfortunately. "Principal of Islamic school in Buffalo ousted over sex allegations," by Mark Sommer for The Buffalo News, August 27:

The principal of an Islamic boarding school on Buffalo’s East Side has been forced to resign after allegations that he was sexually involved with one of his students and that he claimed to have taken her as a second wife.

Evidence suggests Mohammed Ibrahim Memon, a father of seven, persuaded Sajidah Khan, then 21, to marry under Islamic law as a pretense to sleep with her. [...]

One angle apologists sometimes pursue in defending Islamic polygamy is that it somehow cuts down on "infidelity." But no matter how one labels the act, the husband is still in a relationship with someone other than Wife #1. Polygamy only regulates and formalizes that activity, and moves the goalposts for establishing whether a sin (and/or crime) has been committed.

Memon also agreed to never teach in the girls school again if reinstated. [...]

“We were betrayed,” said Chaudhary A. Khan of Woodbridge, Va., Sajidah’s father, who has sent four children to Madania.

“I want families to know these people are not following Islamic laws, they are not following American laws. They claim they are serving Islam, but they are just serving themselves,” he said.

At issue is Memon’s relationship with Sajidah Khan, now 23.

Khan says Memon proposed to her at school in August 2006, and proclaimed within days he had married her himself, under Islamic law, with two witnesses present. He also told her to keep their marriage secret.

Interviews with several Muslims reveal a mixed view on additional marriages under Islamic law. Some said it is not allowed under United States law and therefore is forbidden; others said it can be permissible under Islamic law anyway. Even so, there are several steps required for an Islamic marriage to be recognized, and the description of Khan and Memon’s marriage violates those tenets.

Memon denies marrying or engaging in physical contact with Khan. He claimed to The Buffalo News only to have listened to Khan’s problems over the telephone when he should have referred her to her father. [...]

Sajidah Khan, observing strict rules of separation between the sexes, was relegated to listening from the next room.

Darul-Uloom Al-Madania consists of a complex of brick buildings, along with Masjid Zakariya, a former church cathedral.

Because interaction between the sexes is forbidden under Islam until marriage, girls and boys are not allowed to be in the same classroom or have outside contact.

When girls are taught by male teachers, they must listen in another room. [...]

Imam denies marriage

It was in her last year of study, Khan said, that Memon sought her out. Khan says he arranged a secret meeting on Aug. 30, 2006, in the locked basement of a heating room.

Khan said the imam flirted with her, and she had to repel him when he tried to have physical contact. That day marked the first time he talked of marriage, she said.

Until that day, Khan said, she could count the social contacts she had had with males on one hand.

“In our culture, we don’t even let girls sit with their male cousins, and this guy is a teacher. Why is this man, who has said we are not even allowed to chat with a boy, doing this?” she said.

“At the same time, I’m thinking, ‘He is a teacher, he is very famous, maybe he knows something I don’t know.’”

Hence Khan's susceptibility to Memon's assurances regarding the validity of the marriage, in spite of its secrecy.

Memon persisted with marriage requests. Khan says after she agreed, Memon told her he had finalized their marriage the next day, Sept. 8, in her absence. [...]

As odd as the above paragraph may seem, the bride need not be present for a nikah ceremony.

Khan said Memon was always concerned about covering his tracks so their relationship wouldn't be detected, although Memon's wife, Mariam, approved.

She was surprised to hear the educator make dismissive comments about the girls who studied at Madania, and "often said women were [on Earth] only to satisfy men."

While we're on the subject, what else are they teaching at Darul-Uloom Al-Madania?

Chaudhary Khan, Sajidah's father, said Memon eventually admitted marrying his daughter, but wouldn't send a marriage contract to confirm it. Later, the father said Ismail Memon told him his son divorced Sajidah in a ritual involving Memon family members.

The family's decision to go public occurred after two prominent Pakistan imams, Mufti Rafi Usmani and Mufti Taqi Usmani, told Sajidah Khan's brother, Ikram Haq, that the family had an obligation to speak up and inform other Muslims of what happened. [...]

But did the family have an obligation to speak out, in the imams' opinion, because practicing polygamy in a country where it is illegal is wrong, or because Memon didn't go about his polygamous pursuits correctly?

A former Madania student, who wished to remain anonymous, also told The News she had a relationship with Memon several years ago as a student. Days after accepting his marriage proposal, she said, Memon told her he married them both in front of two witnesses she came to believe never existed.

Also, like Khan, the former student said Memon told her not to tell anyone. But she did, and soon her father removed her from the school. The woman no longer believes she was married to Memon, and is bitter toward the school and its teachings.

"When I talked to [the former student], we realized it was almost the same story for both of us," Khan said....

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