Accused Muslim says spouse abusive

Associated Press / October 31, 2009

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NEW YORK - 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.

Sarwar’s statement to police paints a picture of a frustrated, confused woman who was 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.