Founder of Muslim TV Station Charged With Beheading Of Wife

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Global media is reporting that the Chairman of Bridges TV, once described as “the first English-language cable television channel aimed at U.S. and Canadian Muslims”, has been charged with the beheading of his wife. According to a local media report:

Orchard Park police are investigating a particularly gruesome killing, the beheading of a woman, after her husband — an influential member of the local Muslim community — reported her death to police Thursday. Police identified the victim as Aasiya Z. Hassan, 37. Detectives have charged her husband, Muzzammil Hassan, 44, with second-degree murder. “He came to the police station at 6:20 p.m. [Thursday] and told us that she was dead,” Orchard Park Police Chief Andrew Benz said late this morning. Muzzammil Hassan told police that his wife was at his business, Bridges TV, on Thorn Avenue in the village. Officers went to that location and discovered her body. Muzzammil Hassan is the founder and chief executive officer of Bridges TV, which he launched in 2004, amid hopes that it would help portray Muslims in a more positive light. The killing apparently occurred some time late Thursday afternoon. Detectives still are looking for the murder weapon. “Obviously, this is the worst form of domestic violence possible,” Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III said today. Authorities say Aasiya Hassan recently had filed for divorce from her husband. “She had an order of protection that had him out of the home as of Friday the 6th [of February],” Benz said. Muzzammil Hassan was arraigned before Village Justice Deborah Chimes and sent to the Erie County Holding Center.

According to investigative research, in April 2004 national media reported on the start-up of Bridges TV, described as “the first English-language cable television channel aimed at U.S. and Canadian Muslims.” The report indicated that the programming was available on satellite and internet and had plans to expand to cable. Chairman of Bridges TV was identified as Muzzammil Hassan, said to be a Pakistani-born ex-banker with no television industry experience who got the idea from his wife after she listened to a radio program with “a sharp, derogatory tone against Muslims.” The report described Bridges programming as ranging from “Koranic and Islamic religious content to news, documentaries, soap operas and shows geared toward women and children, in a bid to reflect many facets of life.” In April 2006, a press release stated that Bridges TV had “transitioned from a premium pay channel to basic cable on several cable and satellite systems.”

The Bridges website described one of its programs called “Prominent Scholars” and featuring the following individuals as part of this programming:

  • Rasha al-Disuqi (Al-Azhar University)
  • Jamal Badawi (U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • John Esposito (Georgetown University)
  • Siraj Wahaj (U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Abdullah Idris (U.S. Muslim Brotherhood)

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