The founder of an American Muslim television channel, launched to counter the negative stereotypes of Muslims after 9/11, was arrested in New York late Thursday for beheading his estranged wife.
Muzzammil Hassan, 44, was charged with second-degree murder hours after he went to the police and told them his wife's dead body was at the Bridges TV office in Buffalo, New York, local papers reported.
Police, who are still searching for the murder weapon, identified the victim as Aasiya Hassan, 37, and said she had recently filed for divorce from Hassan and sought a restraining order barring him from the family home, Buffalo News reported.
"Obviously this is the worst form of domestic violence possible," the paper quoted District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III as saying.
Police said there had been problems before and prior incidents of physical abuse but friends said they were horrified and shocked by the news and said they could not understand how this had happened.
"I am totally stunned. They were really more than married they encouraged each other in everything," friend of the couple, Samira Khatib, told Buffalo News.
"He was worried about the station's future...He was stressed, but this has left me absolutely shocked. I still cannot believe it," Dr. Khalid Qazi, a friend of the couple and president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, told the New York Post.
Hassan and Aasiya have two children aged four and six. Hassan has two older children aged 17 and 18 from a previous marriage.
Qazi also said the killings were totally against the teachings of Islam and damaged the image that Hassan worked to promote.
"Domestic violence is despicable, and Islam condones it in no way whatever," Qazi told the Post, adding murders are committed every day in the U.S. by people of all faiths
"There is no place for domestic violence in our religion — none," Qazi told Buffalo News, adding "Islam would 100 percent condemn it."
Bridges TV was launched in 2004 after it was founded by Hassan in an effort to portray Muslims in a positive light and counter the media's negative stereotypes.
"There should be a Muslim media so that Muslim children growing up in America grow up with the self confidence and high self esteem about their identity both as Americans and as Muslims," Hassan told Voice of America when he launched the channel.
Nobody at Bridges TV answered calls from AlArabiya.net and and the station's website said it was "closed for maintenance."