Jamal Miftah rebuts accusations

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There are times when I'm torn between the urgency to write about a topic and the fear of not doing the topic justice. This is especially true when, because of family and work demands and home chores, I don't get to sit down to write until it's late, and I'm tired and distracted. It's even more true when doing a topic justice has an impact on someone's life and reputation. The difficulty is that, in this case, not writing about a matter also has an impact on someone's life and reputation.

In late December, someone tried to post a comment on my entry about Jamal Miftah, the Tulsa Muslim who published an op-ed piece in the Tulsa World condemning those who commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam. You'll recall that, for his trouble, Miftah was the target of an angry confrontation after prayers, and it was communicated to him that he was not welcome to come back. I wrote several entries about Miftah, and made the controversy the subject of my column in the December 13 Urban Tulsa Weekly.

The comment, posted from a Tulsa IP address by someone named Riaz Noor, accused Miftah of being guilty of murder and immigration fraud. Specifically, Noor claimed that his sister was Miftah's wife and that Miftah had murdered her, then used a visa obtained in the dead woman's name to bring his second wife to the United States.

By e-mail, I asked Miftah to respond to the accusations, and I asked some very specific questions of Noor, and both responded by e-mail. I had no way of verifying the claims, and I chose not to publish Noor's comment or to say anything about it.

In the meantime, Noor continued to publish the same accusations, verbatim, on seemingly every web page that mentioned Miftah. Miftah phoned me and asked if we could meet, as he wanted to show me some documentation that would rebut Noor's claims. We met a week ago, on New Year's Day.

Miftah told me that he had indeed been married to Noor's sister back in Pakistan, and that she died in Karachi in May of 1987. It was an arranged marriage, and Miftah never accepted her as his wife. He decided to send her back to her village. The morning of her death he was at work, and she phoned to plead with him to allow her to stay, but he refused. Sometime later he got a phone call that his sister-in-law had been gravely injured and had been taken to the hospital. But when he arrived, he learned that it was his wife who was there -- she had tried to kill herself. Two surgeries were performed to try to save her, but without success.

In a comment on In the Bullpen (one of the blogs where Noor's accusations appeared), Miftah wrote:

The fact of the matter is that at the time when [Riaz Noor's] sister attempted suicide, his other sister (Shahida) was there along with others. They took her to Jinnah Hospital in Karachi and after struggling with life for more then 10 hours and two major surgeries to save her life; she died on the night of May 21, 1987 (which can be verified from Hospital record).

So he knows how his sister died and that’s why never challenged her suicide before.

Miftah showed me a faxed statement from a specific Karachi police station setting out the police record in the matter.

It was a year and a half later, during a visit to Pakistan by his sister, who lived in Tulsa, that Miftah and his new wife went with his sister to the American consulate to apply for an immigration visa to the U.S. Miftah showed me the stamped and dated receipt from the consulate, establishing that the visa was obtained for his second wife. The document makes Riaz Noor's claim -- that Miftah obtained the visa for his first wife, then fraudulently used it for his second wife under his first wife's stolen identity -- an impossible scenario. The timeline doesn't work.

Miftah showed me other documents and provided me with some additional information. There is another thread to the story, a fascinating thread, but it will have to wait for another day. From what I was shown, and from what I was able to verify independently, I believe Jamal Miftah is an honest man and is telling the truth.

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1 Comments

Sean said:

A great little story that was hidden in the back archives of mainstream news about the "rear" mainstream islamic ways...

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=24018_Dispatches-_Undercover_Mosque&only

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on January 8, 2007 10:40 PM.

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