Prosecutors in New York alleged that a devoutly religious Pakistani woman, Rabia Sarwar, 37, slashed her husband’s neck for forcing her to drink alcohol, eat pork and wear miniskirts, according to US media reports on Friday.
Sarwar’s defence lawyer says his client was “emotionally abused” and forced to violate her religious beliefs. She is free on a $25,000 bail after appearing in a court in the nearly borough of Staten Island on Thursday on attempted murder and other charges.
Her lawyer, Joe Licitra, said Sarwar’s husband “got her to drink alcohol, eat pork” and wear clothing that violated her Muslim beliefs.
Sheikh “Eddie” Naseem, described as a half Pakistani, has surface wounds on his neck, face and hand, the reports saids. He was quoted as saying his wife needs psychological help.
The burly 41-year-old, a teacher, overpowered the pretty petite Sarwar and grabbed the weapon after she allegedly attacked him in the middle of the night.
In a rambling, four-page handwritten confession, Rabia Sarwar laid out the “mental and emotional cruelty” that led to her trying to kill her husband, Susan Wagner High School teacher Sheikh Naseem, a law enforcement source said.
“I tried my best to cut his throat,” Sarwar admitted, according to court papers. Except Naseem woke up during the attempt, and took the knife from her, authorities said.
According to Sarwar’s attorney, Joseph Licitra, Naseem “was a cruel person, he preyed on her.” The day before the incident, “he literally threatened to have her parents mutilated,” Licitra said.
Sarwar told investigators that Naseem, who is half-Pakistani, had presented himself as a devout Muslim before the two had wed five months ago.
But after the marriage, she discovered more about him, she told investigators — before meeting her, he had only dated non-Muslims, and he considered Salman Rushdie to be one of his favorite authors.
Rushdie’s book, “The Satanic Verses,” was reviled by hard-line Muslims for what they considered an unflattering portrayal of Prophet Mohammed, and in 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Rushdie calling for Muslims worldwide to kill him.
Sarwar also told investigators that Naseem pressured her into doing things that were against her religious beliefs.
“He made her do stuff that she didn’t like to do — eating pork, drinking alcohol, wearing short clothes. She did all of that to make him happy,” the source said.
At about 3 a.m., inside the couple’s 80 St. Mark’s Place apartment, Ms. Sarwar “snapped,” the source said, cutting his neck, right cheek and right hand.
In an interview with the Post, Naseem said his wife was having a hard time adjusting to American culture.
"She was trying to live the way I live, but on the same token, she tells her parents: 'I went out drinking with him,' and her mother started making derogatory statements about me, " he told the paper. "There was no gun pointed to her head to do these things."