Vigil of tears for death-plunge Muslim model beauty
Sahar Daftary should have been celebrating her 24th birthday.Â
But instead of sharing the model’s happiness, her family spent Christmas Day keeping a vigil at the spot where she plunged to her death.Â
Update: Â U.K.: Model’s death puts spotlight on Islamic polygamy in Britain
Update: Â U.K.: Model’s death puts spotlight on Islamic polygamy in Britain
What safeguards are in place — are there any? — to keep Islamic clerics in Britain and the state-approved sharia courts from being complicit in the abuses that result from polygamous marriage? Those abuses can range from the failure to inform one wife that there are others, to the settlement of resulting divorces, to fraud committed against the state for welfare benefits (though the stateÂ currently recognizesÂ polygamous unions if the wedding took place legally in another country). Or would demanding transparency, accountability, and generally legal and ethical behavior be “Islamophobic?”
“How Sahar Daftary’s death fall exposed polygamy in Britain,” by Dominic Kennedy for theÂ Times Online/via DW
* Continued from above:
More than two dozen relatives travelled from their homes in London to the block of flats in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, where they laid flowers and cards and lit 24 candles, one for each year of her life.Â
Miss Daftary, who was crowned Miss Face of Asia last year, fell from the balcony of businessman Rashid Jamil’s 12th-floor flat last Saturday.Â
Sahar’s mother lays flowers at the spot where the model fell to her death
She had married 33-year-old Mr Jamil in a lavish Muslim ceremony 12 months ago but the relationship ended when she discovered he was already married with three children.
In fact the former restaurant owner had been married three times, and was still living with his third wife.Â
Miss Daftary’s family, who are originally from Afghanistan, remain convinced she would not have taken her own life.Â
Her cousin, Aarozo Tach, 30, said: ‘She would never have done that over this man. She was over him and was looking forward to the future.’Â
Miss Daftary, from Brentford, west London, went to Manchester to take part in a fashion show.Â
Friends say she agreed to go to Mr Jamil’s apartment to finalise their divorce.Â
Mr Jamil was arrested on suspicion of murder but was later freed on bail.Â
Earlier, it was revealed Miss Daftary had lodged a complaint of sexual assault with police.
A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: ‘Police received a report of sexual assault in May 2008. An investigation was launched but the victim refused to co-operate further.’
Sahar Daftary and Rashid Jamil on their ‘wedding day’ last year. She died after falling from his 12th floor luxury apartment. Her life fell apart after she discovered he had allegedly been married three times before
A close friend of Miss Daftary, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Sahar went to the police about six months ago after she split with Rashid. She thought she was being followed and walked into a police station near the apartment in Salford Quays to lodge a complaint.Â
‘He was very possessive of her and she said that he told her that he had people watching her.’
Miss Daftary had been in Mr Jamil’s home city of Manchester for work but was persuaded to go to his flat after he offered her an Islamic divorce.Â
Her sister Mariya Massumi, 34, said Miss Daftary had previously tried to get Mr Jamil to sign divorce papers but he had not agreed.Â
Ms Massumi said: ‘On the way up to Manchester, Sahar was arguing with Rashid on the phone but then he acted nicely and promised to sign the divorce papers.’Â
The family, having released pictures of Miss Daftary’s marriage to Mr Jamil at the Holiday Inn in Brentford last December, now claim the union was never registered.Â
The happy couple ‘wed’ in Brentford, west London in December 2007
They have also insisted she would not have killed herself and had ‘everything to live for’.Â
But they also claimed her marriage had been a sham and her husband was a womaniser.
Meanwhile his second wife, a lawyer by whom he has an 11-year-old daughter, said she had left the former curry house boss because of his drinking and womanising.Â
It is also unclear whether Mr Jamil’s third marriage was ever legally recognised under English law.Â
Miss Daftary, who had been planning to fly to Dubai with friends for New Year’s Eve, had tried to rebuild her life, recently starting studies for an accountancy degree.Â
Mr Jamil led the life of a wealthy entrepreneur but was behind a string of failed businesses and lived in a rented flat.
Ms Daftary shows off her wedding ring
He was arrested on suspicion of murder after she plunged to her death from his 12th floor waterside apartment at the weekend but was later released on bail.Â
It is understood that evidence so far points to her death being suicide or a tragic accident.
It also emerged that a pornographic video clip apparently featuring Miss Daftary and an unnamed man had recently been posted on a publicly accessible website.
She was said to have feared the footage would damage her career, and police are expected to examine whether somebody had made it public out of spite.
Miss Daftary’s mother Anisa, a widow, has been left distraught by her daughter’s death.Â
Sahar’s brother-in-law Joe Karim said: ‘She would never commit suicide. It was against everything she believed in. She had everything to live for. She was a beautiful, intelligent, religious woman.’Â
Rashid with second wife Sebina Malik at their wedding in 1996. She has now revealed that he had conducted a secret affair with another woman, Narissa Amjad, while still married to her
Miss Daftary’s sister, Mariya Massumi, said: ‘Sahar did not have a new partner but she had moved on with her life. She had started studying and stopped modelling. She had washed her hands of Rashid.’Â Â
The family released photographs of the Islamic ceremony at which Miss Daftary married Mr Jamil in December last year in front of 200 family and friends at the Holiday Inn near her home in Brentford.
They show the couple looking happy at the engagement party followed by the exchange of rings and vows and cutting of a four-tier cake in front of guests and an imam, who oversaw the ceremony.Â
Sahar wore a floral dress before changing into a more traditional green dress for the wedding ceremony.Â
Sahar’s death is being treated as either suicide or a tragic accident
But crucially, the union was not registered with the authorities, claim her family. The couple had met through her modelling work, which often took her to fashion shows in Manchester.
But within a matter of weeks, Miss Daftary discovered that her ‘ husband’ in fact already had a ‘wife’ in Manchester, 29-year-old Narissa Amjad, a marketing executive who was expecting their second child.
‘When the wife phoned we didn’t believe her,’ said Mrs Massumi. ‘She phoned every day. Eventually we went up to Manchester to ask him what was going on. His wife was there and his sister-in-law.
‘He said in front of his wife that he wanted to be with Sahar. He had told Sahar that his wife was only with him for the money.’Â
Mr Jamil is thought to have first undergone an arranged marriage in Pakistan which ended in divorce. He then married lawyer Sebina Malik in Manchester in an officially recognised wedding. They had a daughter, but again the couple divorced.
The couple surrounded by family members during their wedding ceremony
With Narissa Amjad he had a boy, now four, and a girl, one. It is not known whether his marriage to Miss Amjad was registered officially or just recognised in the form of an Islamic ceremony, but in the eyes of Miss Daftary’s family he is guilty of bigamy.
Their suspicions were first aroused when his parents did not turn up to the Holiday Inn ceremonyÂ -Â he claimed they were against the wedding because she was an AfghanÂ -Â and again when he cancelled an appointment to register the marriage.
Despite the revelations of his allegedly secret past, Miss Daftary initially agreed to move to Salford Quays with him, but when it became apparent that he was staying with his ‘wife’, she decided to finish the relationship.
Having quit her job helping wealthy Arab shoppers at Harrods she enrolled in an accountancy and finance degree at Thames Valley University near her home.Â
‘Remembering Princess Sahar’
Her sister added: ‘Sahar had moved on. Last month Rashid tried to get back together with her. He offered to buy my sister a house and he asked her to live with him. But she told him she didn’t want his money.’
At the weekend she had agreed to travel to Manchester to do the make-up for a fashion show at an Indian restaurant.Â
Friends have told her family that they had a row but that she then agreed to go to his Â£250,000 rented apartment at the NV Buildings on Saturday evening after he offered to give her an Islamic divorce.
Shortly afterwards, police received a call from Mr Jamil requesting assistance. By the time they got there she had suffered fatal injuries after her 150ft fall.Â
The luxury apartment block from which Ms Daftary plunged to her death
A man at his apartment refused to answer the door to the Daily Mail earlier this week. Mr Jamil had been seen leaving a red rose next to the spot where Miss Daftary landed.
Mr Jamil’s ex-wife Sebina Malik revealed that he had conducted a secret affair with Narissa while still married to her.Â
And she did not divorce him until July last year, long after his Islamic wedding to Narissa and just a few months before the ill-fated ceremony with Sahar, meaning the three ‘marriages’ almost overlapped.Â
She and Mr Jamil were childhood sweethearts, marrying in 1996.Â
Model looks: Ms Daftary’s family have urged police not to write off her death as suicide. Here she poses with a friend
Miss Malik, who lives near his parents in Rochdale, said: ‘People would have said we were the perfect couple. But four or five years after the marriage, he began drinking and began his affairs and things went downhill after that.Â
‘He always had two women on the go. He would never be faithful to just one woman. Two girls turned up at my house, knocking on the door claiming they were pregnant. They said he’d promised to marry them and divorce me.’Â
She said he eventually left her for Miss Amjad but then became obsessed with Miss Dafarty.
‘For him to be with a model, a girl like that, was beyond his dreams. She was a young, hot chick from London. He lavished her with money and jewels.’Â
Stunning: The dead woman was named Miss Asia 2007. She was in Manchester for a modelling job
She said she didn’t believe he was responsible for her death. ‘It could have been an accident,’ she said. ‘I think that it could be possible she has committed suicide.’Â
A police source said: ‘Witnesses have said there was no shouting or ranting – just a single scream. It is being looked at as either suicide or a horrible accident.’
Her friend, Afrah Sami, said: ‘We are all shocked and devastated. Sahar was very beautiful – she loved life and she was always the centre of the party.’