The recent tragedy affecting American Muslims is the murder by decapitation of Sr. Aasyia Zubair, the co-founder of BridgesTV, reportedly by her husband Muzzamil Hasan, the CEO of BridgesTV.
I have met Muzzamil “Mo” Hasan a few years ago, when he came to the Bay Area searching for funds and content for the new American Muslim “lifestyle” channel he was starting called “BridgesTV.”
I along with some other Bay Area Muslims who met him, thought he was like any other “normal” Pakistani Muslim man, who had no real experience with the TV industry or media fields in general, but his idea seemed good, and he had a good “selling” point which was that his background was in finances and “Wall Street” (this was back in 2003 – when the stock market was still pretty good) and he knew that funding was the key to keep an American Muslim satellite channel alive.
I had a few talks with him over the phone and although I didnt agree with his politics (He told me that he did not want to do shows about Palestine – which is one thing I was pushing for – because he had alot of Jewish people helping out with the TV channel and he did not want to offend them or “rock the boat”). I thought to myself – “then what is the point of having a Muslim channel, if we dont even want to express our point of view on important topics?”
Anyways, that should have been my first clue that something was wrong (in terms of the channel’s purpose and content). But I went ahead and made a deal with BridgesTV to have some of my programs aired on their channel. Obviously they did not offer very much in terms of compensation – but their other main selling point was that they are showing our programs to a nationwide audience, rather than to our current local channels (this was before YouTube:)).
A few months later, I started to work with Aasiya Zubair, who was the programming director at the time, and later on I realized that she was married to Muzzamil. Aasiya was a very intelligent woman, who seemed to be very business savvy and was interested in having a diverse range of content for BridgesTV. I exchanged many emails with her and talked to her on the phone several times. She was always very polite and professional, even though sometimes we did not agree on certain business issues.
I recently found out she was educated and trained as an Architect, which is also what my field of expertise is in as well.
I was very shocked and saddened when I heard the news of her death, and even worse, that it was due to a violent and gruseome act by her husband, which I also knew – or thought I did!
All the good work that Muzzamil may have done with BridgesTV is now all gone down the drain, with this brutal act of murder. Some Muslims are saying that we shouldnt condemn him without knowing all the facts, but from the information I have seen and read from ISNA, CNN and other reports from people who knew and worked with Muzzamil and Aasiya closely – there is no doubt that he committed this crime and he should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Alhamdullilah there have been many Muslim leaders coming out and condeming this act of violence and also speaking out against Domestic Violence – which Sr. Aasiya was a victim of for several years. It also came out recently that Muzzamil was married twice before, and both marriages ended in part because of domestic violence claims by the wives against him.
InshaAllah this Friday, Imams and Khateebs across the country will speak out against Domestic Violence in our communities. Here is the link to the facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=621925963&ref=ts#/event.php?eid=54807221754
May Allah forgive Sr. Aasiya Zubair and grant her the highest place in Janat-ul-Firdos. May Allah also make it easier for her family and especially the young children she left behind. Ameen.