|Born||June 17, 1972|
|Died||February 12, 2009
Aasiya Zubair, also known as Aasiya Hassan (June 17, 1972 – February 12, 2009) was with her husband Muzzammil Hassan, the founder and owner of Bridges TV, the first American Muslim English-language television network. In February 2009, she was found dead, beheaded, at the Bridges TV station after her estranged husband turned himself in to a police station and was charged with 2nd degree murder.
Some observers regard the murder an honor killing. Marcia Pappas, New York State president of the National Organization for Women told The Buffalo News that "This was apparently a terroristic version of honor killing, a murder rooted in cultural notions about women’s subordination to men.”
Zubair was an architect by training. Worried by the negative perceptions of Muslims, she "felt there should be an American Muslim media where her kids could grow up feeling really strong about their identity as an American Muslim" and came up with the idea for Bridges TV. She also studied for an MBA at State University of New York College at Buffalo from 2007 to 2009.
Zubair was the focus of a cover story in the Vol. 3, Issue 2 (2003) issue of Azizah Magazine; her face graced the cover. Journalist Nadirah Sabir wrote about how Zubair conceived the idea of the nation's first Muslim television channel.
In addition to her pioneering work as a broadcaster, Zubair is being remembered as a catalyst for heightened awareness of the issue of domestic violence, especially in the North American Muslim community. Wajahat Ali, acclaimed playwright and founder of GoatMilk, wrote in The Guardian that "[t]he absolute brutality of Aasiya's murder has served as a clarion call to many American Muslims who have passionately responded to the tragedy with a resounding desire to confront this festering calamity." Imam Mohamed Hagmagid Ali, vice-president of The Islamic Society of North America, stated: "This is a wake up call to all of us, that violence against women is real and can not be ignored. It must be addressed collectively by every member of our community."
A nationwide, unified effort entitled "Imams Speak Out: Domestic Violence Will Not Be Tolerated in Our Communities" commenced in February 2009 asking all imams and religious leaders to discuss the Zubair murder, as well as domestic violence, in their weekly sermon on their Friday prayer services.
On February 7, 2011, Muzzammil Hassan was found guilty of second degree murder for beheading his wife of eight years, Aasiya Zubair.
- News aljazeerah.info: First American Muslim Television Channel Announced by Bridges Network
- Press Release: Bridges TV Debuts American Muslim Television Network in English Nationwide on November 30, 2004
- CNN: Founder of Islamic TV station accused of beheading wife (February 16, 2009)
- The New York Times, February 17, 2009
- "Are Some Honor Killings More Equal Than Others?," Phyllis Chesler, July 12, 2010, FoxNews.
- "Possibility of 'honor killing' mulled in Orchard Park slaying; Estranged husband charged with murder." Fred O. Williams, Buffalo News, February 13, 2010.
- CNN, February 17, 2009
- Azizah Magazine, Vol. 3, Issue 2 (2003)
- The Guardian
- American Muslims Call to Action to End Domestic Violence