London, Dec 27: The death of former 'Face of Asia' Sahar Daftary has exposed the murky world of Muslim polygamy in Britain, according to the head of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain.
The 23-year-old model fell 150ft from the twelfth storey of a block of flats where she had gone to collect her belongings at the home of a businessman whom she had married in a religious ceremony in Brentford, West London last year. [Ex-lover of former 'Face of Asia' model says he's innocent]
Husband, Rashid Jamil, 33, was arrested on suspicion of murder but bailed after the cops found no evidence. Initial findings suggested Daftary's death appeared to be either a tragic accident or suicide.
"This story is very common, unfortunately. We have tried to plug some of the holes in the whole system, but unfortunately our clerics do not live on this planet," Times Online quoted Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, the head of the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain as saying. [Ex 'Face of Asia' model 'had made sexual assault claim']
"They don't understand. For them, controlling the sexuality of the woman is far more important than justice, so we have this problem," he added.
Daftary also wanted to arrange an Islamic divorce from Jamil after discovering that her husband already had a wife.
"A few months after they got married we had a phone call from Narissa Amjad, and she said she was Rashid's wife," said Sahar's sister, Mariya Massumi, a hairdresser by profession.
Massumi said: "We were very shocked and we confronted him. When we arrived he was very calm. He said to Sahar he was not happy with his wife. He said in front of his wife he wanted to live with Sahar. His wife Narissa was also very calm and said that was OK. We were all so shocked.
"Rashid told Sahar he loved her." [Ex 'Face of Asia' model's mum says her daughter would never have committed suicide]
The relatives also learnt that Amjad, 29, a marketing executive, was expecting a second child by Jamil.
Jamil was already married twice. Once with Sebina Malik, a lawyer. They had a daughter but were formally divorced.
Siddiqui said some British Muslim clerics performed polygamous marriages. The ceremonies are unrecognised by law. Clerics let husbands end marriages by saying "I divorce you" three times. Ex-wives have no rights.
Ahmad Thomson, a barrister and founder of the Association of Muslim Lawyers, said that polygamous marriages could work in Britain if all parties were open and in agreement.
But "sometimes the husband has tried to keep the earlier marriage secret. When the second or third wife finds out, it's devastating," he added.