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Life Term for Father Who Killed Daughter for Religious Reasons

July 4, 1989

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) _ A devout Moslem who cut his daughter’s throat because she decided to become a Jehovah’s Witness was convicted of murder Tuesday and sentenced to life in prison.

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court found Abdul Malik, 56, guilty of murdering his 16-year-old daughter, Pharbin, last November in front of her mother and two younger sisters.

Malik, who came to Britain from Bangladesh in 1952, had pleaded innocent to murder. Defense lawyer Michael Wolkind, seeking a manslaughter verdict, claimed Malik was provoked and blinded by his faith.

Prosecutor James Hunt said Malik’s standing in the community, where he was on the committee of his mosque, meant more to him than his daughter’s life. ″What he undoubtedly did was to sacrifice her for his religion,″ Hunt declared.

The defendant said in the two-day trial that he intended only to frighten his daughter with the 12-inch kitchen knife, but his mind ″went out of control.″

Pharbin had left the family home because of arguments over the Jehovah’s Witnesses and her Jamaican boyfriend, the jury was told, but returned home the day before her death.

Hazzava Malik, 15, testified that her mother pleaded with Pharbin to recite a Moslem prayer to her father when he brandished the knife, but she refused and told him she would go to more Jehovah’s Witnesses meetings.

″He grabbed her by the hair and pushed her to the floor,″ the sister said. ″He pulled her hair back. She had a lot of hair. This exposed her neck and he put the knife to it. He did that calmly.

″He said he would not let her go to meetings, but she said she would. Then he cut her throat. He did it like he was sawing at the same spot. My mother tried to stop him and got cut.″

Pharbin, her jugular vein severed, managed to stagger into the street. She died on the sidewalk.

Hunt told the jury Malik had threatened several days earlier to kill his daughter unless she returned to Islam.

″It was no sudden decision,″ the prosecutor said. ″She refused his demands to acknowledge Allah, so he deliberately killed her as he said he would.″

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