Police have charged the president of a U.S. Muslim television network with second degree murder for allegedly beheading his wife.
Muzzammil Hassan, 44, launched the Buffalo, N.Y.-based network in 2004 with his wife Aasiya Hassan,37, to portray Muslims in a positive light and help shed stereotypes.
Muzzammil reported his wife missing Thursday night. Authorities then found her body at the television office that night.
"I am totally stunned. They were really more than married. They encouraged each other in everything," Samira Khatib, a friend of the couple, said of Aasiya's death.
Buffalo News reports say Aasiya recently filed for divorce and had an order of protection for her husband to leave their home by Feb. 6.
J. Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York who worked closely with the couple, said he didn't see signs of business strain on the couple.
"I cannot believe it. I cannot get a handle on this," he said.
Cory Hogan, whose law firm Hogan Willig represented Aasiya Hassan in the divorce proceeding, said this was not the first incident of violence.
"There had been problems before and there had been prior incidents of physical abuse," Hogan said.
Attorney Elizabeth DiPirro also called Aasiya a brave woman.
"She was very much aware of the potential ramification her filing for divorce might have," DiPirro said.
"She was a very brave woman who was extremely devoted to her children and had come to this decision after a long, thoughtful process and was determined to change her life for herself and her children," she added.
The couple had two children, ages 4 and 6. Muzzammil has two children, ages 17 and 18 from a previous marriage.
Muslims follow Sharia law which does not allow women to ask for divorce. Only a man can grant the request, and he can refuse a woman's offer to end the marriage.
In her new book, Egyptian-born American author Nonie Darwish says that in Sharia Law, crimes such as adultery or theft are punishable by beheading, stoning or amputation of limbs.
Sources: CBN News, Associated Press, Newspost Online, CNN