The U.S. Muslim TV station founder charged last week with beheading his wife may have committed the murder because of rules in Islamic law, well-known blogger and Middle East expert Daniel Pipes claims.
In his column for the Jerusalem Post, Wednesday, Pipes said Muzzammil Hassan constantly threatened his wife, Aasiya, after she filed for divorce in January. He learned that they'd argued about Sharia law near the time of Aasiya's death.
"A reliable source informs me... that the police found that Muzzammil repeatedly told his wife that she had no right, under Islamic law, to divorce him," Pipes wrote. "They also quote him stating that Aasiya, because she was beheaded, cannot reach paradise." Read Pipes' entire article here.
Aasiya was found dead Thursday, Feb. 12 in the studio of Hassan's television station, Bridges TV. Her divorce attorney told reporters the couple had "physical confrontations off and on" throughout their eight-year marriage.
Pipes said the murder could address a difficult issue surrounding religions like Islam.
"A great battle looms ahead on how to interpret this crime, whether as domestic violence or honor killing," he said. "Supna Zaidi of Islamist Watch defines [honor killing] as 'the murder of a girl or woman who has allegedly committed an act that has shamed and embarrassed her family.'"
Pipes added that more information is need to determine the "exact nature" of the crime.
He has been a longtime critic of Hassan's television network, calling the station a "lie" since it began in 2004.
"Endorsed by some of the worst Islamist functionaries in the country, it was an extremist wolf disguised in moderate sheep's clothing," Pipes said.
Still, the network has been praised as a way of "easing" tension surrounding Muslims since 9/11.
Meanwhile, lawyers representing Hassan say he will plead not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.
Sources: CBN News, Jerusalem Post