Wife Slashed Husband Over Religious Beliefs, She Says

Lawyer says wife was forced to drink alcohol and eat pork

By COLLEEN LONG
|  Thursday, Jan 7, 2010  |  Updated 5:23 PM EDT
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Wife Slashed Husband Over Religious Beliefs, She Says

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The Muslim woman slashed her husband in the neck after he forced her to violate her religious beliefs, she told cops.

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A devout Muslim woman forced by her newlywed husband to eat pork, wear short skirts and drink alcohol slashed his neck with a kitchen knife as he slept, according to a statement she gave to police.

Rabia Sarwar, 37, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and was freed on $25,000 bail. She told police in a written statement that she was emotionally abused by her husband, Seikh Naseem, and forced to violate her religious beliefs.

"He made me do so many things that are against Islam," she wrote in a statement to police. "I did all that just to make him happy but inside me there was a war," she continued.

Naseem suffered cuts to his neck, cheek and hand early Wednesday before fighting Sarwar off and dialing 911 from his Staten Island home, authorities said.

"I did my best to cut his throat," Rabia Sarwar wrote. "But the next moment he jumped on me and grabbed me."

Sarwar's attorney, Joe Licitra, said she had previously been treated for depression. Her husband told the New York Post that Sarwar, a native of Pakistan, was having a hard time adjusting to American culture.

"There was no gun pointed to her head to do these things," Naseem told the Post.

Sarwar's statement to police paints a picture of a frustrated, confused woman angry that her husband of five months was not what he appeared to be during their brief courtship. Naseem went to her family to ask for a bride and she agreed to marry him, she said in her statement.

But after they were wed, she discovered he had previously dated mostly ``white'' women, had been married before and liked to go out to drink, she wrote. He said he was Pakistani and a devout Muslim, but in New York he claimed he was half-Pakistani and half-Norwegian, as well as a Unitarian Christian, she said.

He often yelled and cursed her family, she said, and one of his favorite writers was Salman Rushdie, author of ``The Satanic Verses,'' which caused violent protests by Muslims in several countries because the book was perceived as an irreverent depiction of the prophet Muhammad.

"He hates Pakistan and he hates Pakistanis then why did he marry a Pakistani girl?" she wrote.

They fought about her leaving, and he threatened to hurt her family, saying they would have to pay him $30,000 or he would sue them and leave them penniless and homeless, she wrote. Her family is in Pakistan.

She lay in bed that evening thinking her only way out was to kill him, she wrote.

Police said they had never visited the house on any domestic dispute calls.

Sarwar also pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree assault and criminal possession of a weapon.

According to Sarwar's statement, Naseem was working on getting her green card, but her parents had apparently started citizenship process for her a few years before. Her current status is unclear.

Her next court date is Monday.

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