The real issues for women

Category: Americas, Life & Society, Women Topics: Media, Women Views: 10447

Pregnant Muslim Mother's brutal murder

I remembering going to the masjid one Friday afternoon on December 17th, 2004. I sat in the musalla while the imam gave his khutbah. As usual, he ended his sermon and the congregation prayed the Jumah prayer. We sat restlessly, talking and catching up with friends, as we waited for the imam to give the Friday afternoon announcements. But on this seemingly typical day, the Muslim community of New Orleans and the attendants of the Abu Bakr al-Siddique Masjid would receive the most horrible and heartbreaking news. One of our beloved sisters, Iman Muhanna Mohamed, was brutally murdered. She was stabbed 33 times; fatal wounds that ended her life and the life of her unborn baby girl. I remember hearing the imam, shock and grief laden upon his voice, as he announced this tragedy to our congregation. I remember the sisters who were crying and the silence of those so appalled that they didn't know what to say or how to react. There are many things I remember about that day and such things continue to stay with me. 

I rushed home to watch the news to see what the reporters would say. What did the police know? Was it a hate crime or a robbery? Were there any possible leads? With much sadness I must report that since that day, we do not know who has committed this crime. Unfortunately, I did not have the pleasure of knowing Iman Muhanna Mohamed. Our paths never crossed and the sadness of our community is a reflection of what we have lost with her death. Through reports on the news, internet searches, and warm stories told by friends, I began to develop a portrait of a faithful servant of our community. She and her unborn daughter were survived by her husband and two children. She received her education from the Islamic University of Gaza and served as a teacher at the Muslim Academy of New Orleans. She taught the Qur'an, the word of Allah subhana wa ta'ala, to our youth. She was loved by many and she will not be forgotten.

Since the day of her murder, however, many of us have noticed the silence. It is the silence of the mainstream media. While her murder was covered by the local news, a local Islamic newspaper entitled "Iqra!" and various newspapers in the Middle East, the major television networks have said nothing. Even more troubling is the lack of coverage from Muslim publications and media networks. One would think that such a brutal murder would garner attention from Muslim and non-Muslim media outlets all over the United States. After all, the murder of Laci Peterson and her unborn child captivated the American audience for months. Perhaps it is because her husband is not a suspect and our anti-Islamic culture is used to hearing stories about the brutality of Muslim men towards their women. I suspect that if he stood accused, her story would have been plastered on every newspaper, television show and website across America. 

Mahdi Bray and the Muslim American Society has made it their personal duty to make sure that her story is not laid to rest. He also noticed the lack of attention regarding Sister Iman's death, stating, "Frankly, I'm amazed at how little media attention this case has received. The murder of a pregnant women normally receives big nationwide attention by all major media outlets." 

With the controversial woman-led prayer of Dr. Amina Wadud, there has been much talk about women's rights in Islam. There has been much debate and argumentation over hijab, female imams, and a new feminist discourse in Islam. Asma Nomani, author of "Standing Alone in Mecca," who is leading a Women's Freedom Tour throughout America, has not made any mention of Iman Muhanna Mohamed and others like her. Amongst all the bickering, one of our rights as women that is undoubtedly confirmed by the Qur'an, took a backseat to the media spectacle of Dr. Amina Wadud's prayer service. The right that I am speaking of is a woman's right to live. It is the right of every woman to live a life of safety, protection and honor. Our holy book says, "He who kills a human being is like killing the whole world." It was a right and liberty that was robbed from Iman Muhanna Mohamed and her unborn child on that December morning. It is a right that is violated continuously against women inside and outside of the Muslim community. And while debating these trendy, hot-bottom issues seem important, let us not forget what really matters-the health, happiness, and peace for all men and women. 


For more information about this case you can contact the Crimestoppers and the West Bank Muslim Association that have raised a reward worth $45,000 dollars for tips leading to an arrest and conviction. If you have any information about her death, please call (504) 822-111 or 1-877-903-7867.

The author Kelly "Izdihar" Crosby is a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and can be reached at [email protected] . Her blog can be accessed at

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  33 Comments   Comment

  1. Malik Elmadari from USA

    Its tragic to say that the media, like a television sitcom, is very particular about what it reveals. Sadly, I can understand--and not acceptingly--why sister Iman's case would not spread. Her case does not contribute to the overall image that people have concerning Muslim's and Muslim women. A story such as this will only create confusion.

    The media has forgotten its purpose. They no longer inform, they mislead.

    I will do my part to keep her story alive, and to insure that she has not died in vain.

    Rest assured knowing that the Muslims in the Dearborn, Michigan community will being aware of this issue, and Du'ah will be made.


  2. haroon from pakistan

    is there is any justice for muslims in united states and other western countries? . i dont think so.may ALLAH RESTED THE SOUL OF THE SISTER IN HEAVEN.

  3. Kelly from USA

    Salaikum alaikum, I am sorry sister but my few words are not powerful enough to invalidate female led prayer. The Shari'a and Hadith clearly explain what is permissible and what is not and mixed salah with a female imam has rendered invalid for over 1400 years. But the fact that thread is not talking about Sister Iman's death says a lot about what's going on in this umma; that we can't even mourn her unless her murder was motivated by religious hate. But I guess we can continue to bicker about female imams while our brothers and sisters are killed in wars all over the world. Subhan'Allah.

  4. Ahmed from UK

    Dwest, or should I say "Omarg" ? Stop making cowardly attacks on the author. Female led prayers are not permissible unless a woman is leading a jammat of woman at home. Before you label and attack me as a "fundamentalist" go read your Quran and hadith. Assuming ofcourse you pro-regressive leftist fanatics believe in it.

  5. DWest from USA

    Also you say this "right to live" thing and say it's the real issue for Muslim women. Excuse me but how many Muslim women (in America) are being murdered by the masses? This is one case, and yes this lady lost her life. But do not paint it as if this is what Muslim women face everyday ("the threat of being killed") in America. Do not paint it as if this is the #1 killer among Muslim women in America. Astagfullah

  6. Dwest from USA

    As Salaam Alaikum,

    I am really sorry to read about the death of this woman, but I believe that it is very wrong of you to try to invalidate women leading mixed prayer and the fight for women's right with this tragedy. It is sickening.

    How dare you turn a tragic death to sometype of political stepping soon? Grieve death with sincerity, not with motives.

  7. Ahmed from UK

    Classic American hypocrist Sister Kelly's article is not taking advantage of anything but highlighting the hypocrisy of those who claim to be the champions of woman's rights. For those who don't know, "OmarG" is poster from the "progressive" mwu website and a member of the US army. He supports American policy in Muslim countries including the terrorism against the people of Iraq. He couldn't care less about a Muslimah being murdered, yet munafiqs leading phony Friday prayers are good.

    Classic American hypocrisy and illogic in action.

  8. Kelly from USA

    Salaam alaikum, I am not using Sister Iman's murder to invalidate woman-led prayer. We all know the conditions for a woman leading prayer. I pointing out the terrible fact that while some of us are distracted by things like the controversy over women-led prayer, our brothers and sisters are being murdered. It is terrible that the issues of war, violence and exploitation are swept under the rug. If tomorrow all Muslim women are given the right to lead prayer, our lands will still suffer from poverty, illiteracy and war. And that is a sad reality that many of us do not want to face.

  9. OmarG from US

    Why Iman's murder didn't become a big issue is a good question. An even better question is why the author is using Iman's tragic murder to invalidate woman-led prayer...

  10. OmarG from US

    Why Iman's murder didn't become a big issue is a good question. An even better question is why the author is using Iman's tragic murder to invalidate woman-led prayer...

  11. Ahmed from UK

    I'm glad you are in the US too Sameena. Tell the families of the thousands of Muslim men who have been detained and killed by your lovely US policies. You obiously hate Muslim men with a passion, perhaps because they prefer their woman pure and chaste. The article is about real problems faced by Muslim woman, not the identity crisis you munafiqs suffer from periodically.

    As I said before, you're out of tune with reality so go back to sleep like a good ignoramus.

  12. Ahmed from UK

    Oh please Sameena, spare me your pretencious elitism, you know nothing of Arab men, Sharia or any such thing. Remind me again of your "secular laws" in India which organize Hindu government mobs to rape and murder Muslims. Only an feeble apologist would defend secularism and its excesses. Its painfully obvious you have internalized 3rd rate orientalistic polemic along with some pathetic and bizarre assumptions which have nothing to do with reality. And yes, I've read your other "comments" and they all sound like a broken record. Are you threatened by practising Muslim woman ? I think you are, and thats not name calling no is it ?

    Grow up.

  13. Adam Ibrahim Muhammad from Nigeria

    May Allah forgive Sister Iman and her un-born Child, Ameen.

    Sister Kelly, you mean you really don't know why why this story ain't all over the media? Who is having power over the media in the US? Muslims, Jews? Christians? Give us the break, please. Thanks to Allah for giving you the understanding to put up this article. It is a major step you know.

    The muslims of the Americas have now a challenge amongst many of them ..GET SOME MAJOR CHUNK OF THE SHARE OF THE all means! And you certainly have the means..if you 'see what I'm saying'.

    Hudd, I'm enjoying all your rejoinders. Keep the good work.


  14. Sameena from US/India

    Wow, some people on this site are seriously out of touch with reality. The truth of the matter is that there have been countless abusive practices against women that have been justified using Islam. Divorce laws that keep women tied to their husbands due to unfair custody laws, difficulty in obtaining divorce etc. That is just one example. Honor killings, physical abuse of women for failure to wear "Islamic dress", banning women from professional careers, denying full citizenship to women-- all of these have been justified in several places under the guise of preserving Islam.

    I am "consitently anti-Islam", obviously Ahmed, you havent read all my comments. When people dont have a strong and honest argument, they hide behind calling people names. And no guys, men in Arab countries are far more abusive to their women than Muslim men in India. Atleast, in India, the secular laws were a corrective to the excesses of the Sharia.

    Islam, when observed intelligently and with an openness to reason, has a great place in society. In India, it freed people from the oppressive Hindu racial heirarchy. In Iran, it saved the masses from being crushed by feudal elites. In many parts of the world, it upheld the dignity of masses. However, the reality is that the treatment of women remains the worst in Islamic nations. I am personally glad I live in the US where laws protect my rights in a way no Muslim nation does and most of all, I am glad I am not stuck in a society where I would be surrounded by Muslim men. Its really nice to live in the US where I have to access to men (NOT MUSLIM) who have a reasonable thinking and a capacity to be a true companion to a woman.

  15. Ahmed from UK

    Sameena as usual only pops up here to troll it seems. She has consistently made anti-Muslim and anti-Islam remarks masquerading as "womans rights" issues. Get a clue dear, you're not fooling anyone. Muslim woman dont need sell out and disingenous westoxified charlatans pretending to be their friends to understand their rights. Your .. rantings are as irrelevent as the next islamophobe.

  16. Hudd d'Aelia from Great North

    So, Sameena, you found yourself among those that bash Islam? You say,"the right to dress the way one wants without having the law tell you to drape yourself from head to toe in veil" This is the statement of the non-believer. A Muslim, man or woman, does not have the liberties their human brethren have in other faiths or no-faith! We as Muslims have the right to dress according to the law of Allah/God, you are gravely mistaken, a Muslim person doesn't dress as he wants, but rather as he should as a Muslim. Yes, a Muslim person is free to choose what style to follow, traditional or North American, however the style chosen must agree with the norms of Islam as layed down in the Quran. For instance, if a Muslim woman chooses to follow North American fashion, her head still needs to be covered(not necessarily her face if she choses not to)in the norms of Islam: hair shouldn't be visible. The upper garnment should cover the chest and the cleavage and the sleeves should be covering the arms, below the garnment should cover the thighs and the part of the shanks. This would set you right on the limit, no need for you to go beyond and still call yourself Muslim. You need to display a Muslim presence in your person's posture and apparel. The laws of Saudia are their laws, you might not like them, you don't live there. I live in Canada and some of the Canadian laws I resent, namely, same sex marriage and legal possession of marijuana(30g). Do I condemn the Canadian society for this matter? No, for the fact that I do not need to marry another man(I am a man) because the law allows me, nor I need to smoke marijuana reefer by reefer only because the law allows me. I am Muslim and enjoy my freedom of exercising my religion without restrictions, this is what I love in being Canadian. You live in USA, you can work whatever you want to, no need for you to gossip our lands, because every regime has its shortcomings, believe me! You are Indian, don't you talk about your own country?

  17. Ummtayyab from Canada

    Jaimel, Masha'Allah, what a beautiful reminder, you also brought tears to my eyes. I hadn't heard any hadith regarding the child's attachment to the pregnant mother and it's ability to plead for her.

  18. NQasem from USA

    I believe we are missing the bigger picture of this. This article just shows that American society has become so Islamophobic that when a tragedy like this occurs it is shoved under the rug and is not given the full attention that it deserves. I think titling it The Real Issues For Women is misleading. Had this been an honor killing then this title would have been more accurate. Rather we need to focus on the fact that in almost all cases, any issue dealing with Muslims, the Middle East Conflict etc is swept under the rug or it is portrayed in a manner that shows Muslims as being violent or in the wrong. As Muslims we have a responsibility to make sure that the American media portray us in an accurate light. Thus we need to get off of our behinds and take a proactive stance. Don't sit back and let the abuse be heaped on us. There are so many times that the media portrays us as terrorists, gas station owners and in general a very poor light. Yet no one from the Muslim community stands up and says this in unacceptable. If TV or Radio portrayed African Americans, Asians or Hispanics in such a manner that would be construed as racist, there would be law suits flying, yet we sit back and just take this. Do something!

  19. UmmTayyab from Canada

    Masha'Allah Izdihar, what a beautiful mourning and such relevent observations. I never even heard about this until I came here to this site.

    And Sameena, if you don't like to follow the Qur'an and Sunnah of our Prophet, why are you even a muslim? Just wait until your children turn on you and repeat the same disrespectful rebellion after you birthed and raised them. Maybe then you will understand obedience to your Creator.

  20. Yahya Bergum from USA

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji'un. Wa'alaikum assalam.

    I love Louisiana. And by that I mean to say that I love the people who live there. Honestly said however I never actually felt completely at ease in New Orleans proper.

    I think there are so many people in traditionally confined spaces that they might perhaps at least care to consider putting a little extra effort into encouraging goodwill among the city's residents. Admittedly it's been ten years since I was last in New Orleans but on reflection I wish that I myself had tried harder in that regard.

    Perhaps simply hoping to make people feel good about merely doing their jobs might somehow have positive effects that would remain unperceived, by the parties involved, until the Day of Recompense. To put it perhaps another way, until you happen to learn who is responsible for these terrible murders, why not at least try being a little nicer than usual to even just a few of the millions of people who didn't?

    May Allah provide for the comfort and protection of you, your family and your neighbors. Ameen.

  21. Hudd d'Aelia from Canada

    The real issues for women. The title is equivocal. Is there an issue for women? Is there a real one and a false one? The article deals with the brutal murder of a pregnant woman that happens to be Muslim. The article didn't give a motive for her murder. Why was she murdered? Was it because she was Muslim, was it because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time? Was it because of an armed robbery or forced entry? In order to bring this incident to the title of "The real issues for women", we need to have more facts and a more defined title. Like, The real issues for women in North America, or if Muslim women are the concern then,"The real issues for Muslim women in North America". Sister Sameena confuses this article even more by bringing domestic issues in Muslim families as the real issue of this incident. Sister Iman Muhanna Mohamed was not murdered by her husband. You have to know Sameena that a woman has no issues in Islam. However a Muslim woman might have a carload of issues in different cultures that unfortunatelly override the rights given by Islam to women. Do not confuse firebugs with firecrackers, please! More and more, North American Muslims, men and women together, clean the great religion of Islam of cultural backwood practices and cultural believes. The advent of the North American Muslim is iminent and is coming forcibly as a revolutionizing element at the table of the international Islamic Council. A North American Muslim has Islam as his/her way of life and American culture as a catalyctic factor to his identity! Thus a North American Muslim will have the most updated form of Islam and a culture to match those believes. In the culture of human rights women abuse is a crime. It might be that in Indian culture women abuse would be a virtue, but Islam does not allow a Muslim to be cruel not even to an animal. Remember, In Islam you are not allowed to strike an unruling animal in the face, let alone a woman or a child! Women & men built the Ummah!

  22. Sameena from US/India

    Real issues: the right to dress the way one wants without having the law tell you to drape yourself from head to toe in veil, the right not to have law tell you what work you are or are not allowed to do (as in Saudi), the right not to have honor killings condoned by Muslim society(the list could go on and on) -- to meet atleast one Muslim man in your lifetime who understands that women have a right to live an intellectually and sexually fulfilling life. Yes, there are women casualties in Palestine etc., but just because women are against imperialism doesnt mean they are also for any Muslim moron who speaks for them in the name of 'anti-imperialism'. We dont want our rights trampled on by misogynist Muslim men (especially people who take the convenient route of accusing every woman who has issues with Muslim misogyny of being a supporter of American hegemony).

  23. wake up from usa

    Sameena - whast specific examples would you give regards to "muslim women's rights struggle" - the article is specific in questioning the Amina Wadud/Ahmed Nassef/Omid Safi/PMUNA/MWU media showcase. And yes it did lead to placing issues that sister Kelly has identified on the backburner.

    Perhaps you think that Asra Nomani or Amina Wadud is your knightess in shining armor coming to rescue you while riding on a horse called the imperial US corporate media. She (Nomani) was on nightline the other days - and said "the US is spreading social justice all over the world..." --- yeah OK --- slaughters of muslim women in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine - they don't count. So long as Amina Wadud and Asra Nomani and their mentor Omid Safi and Ahmed Nassef (of "progressive muslim union") have their 15 minutes fame. Time to wake up sister Sameena and smell the coffee or tea - or something...

    This is an excellent article that discusses the case of an individual but identifies important concerns for Muslim woman's right to life - and yes that is a real concern for Muslim women... in times of war, the women are the one's who suffer the most.

  24. Jamillah from USA

    I think that this is a good article. I appreciate the writers dedication to the positive memory of the departed sister. InshaAllah, we will all remember her and her family in our prayers.

  25. Sameena from US/INDIA

    Please dont insult the muslim women's struggle for equal rights within the community by the use of the title "Real issues..". Yes we feel sorry for Iman and the way media has ignored her, but that is no excuse to minimize the struggle of Muslim women. Stop patronizing Muslim women, we dont need anybody to tell us what our "real" issues are. We know our issues everytime we encounter the misogynist attitudes of muslim men, something we have to deal with far more often than the community likes to admit.

  26. Hudd d'Aelia from The Great North

    Brother ISLAM of the ghetto, your comment is disturbing me. Let's analyze facts that are against or for your opinion. Let's have a look paragraphwise to all your enties:

    1)"I been try to tell everyone for a long time that is time for the MUSLIMS to HIJIRAH back to DAR_ISLAM."

    a)You tried to do what? Tell Muslims to go back? First of all, Islam lives by example, if you live in the USA how on earth can you take the liberty to advise Muslims not to? What you do is hypocracy, remember that!

    b)For a lot of Muslims in North America there is no "back home" aspect of their identity. Some Muslims are second to fifth generation of born Americans. Others are so called 'Nation of Islam' or at least starting from that and reverting to orthodox Islam, they were brought to USA against their will sold as common merchandise and wiped their origin and identity entirely, that's the reason of "X" in Malcolm Little. Last but not least are the new comers from every walk of life, blacks, hispanic, orientals, whites. These people together with the rest of the Americans, own America! They have their homes in America, their careers, their lives, their dreams, their faiths,their shortcomings and fortunes as well! Where do you want to send these people to? You want them to renounce what they own and go as destitutes to be servants to totalitarian regimes of the Middle East, Asia and Africa? Who in his right mind would do such a fabulously stupid thing?

    c)Dar Islam? Are you kidding me? Dar Islam was finished with the death of Muhammad,pbuh, and the assassination of the last of the Rashideen, Ali ibn Aby Talib,ra! Where is dar Islam in your opinion? In the kingdom of Saudia? Since when are there kings in Islam? In Egypt? One of the last dictatorships still reigning in Africa together with that of Libya, Sudan, Algeria,etc. In Indonesia or Malaysia? Think before opining,or name that dar Islam! I would happily emmigrate there, where is it, though? Talk is cheap!

  27. jaimel from emperial US

    from allah we come, and to allah we return. alhamdullillah our beloved will be in jannah. the baby will automatically go, and even if the woman was to temporarily tatste the hell fire the baby would say that 'oh allah if she goes into the hell fire i will also' so because of the ambilical attachment the mother will be amongst those reclining on couches with rivers running beneath and fountains of pure drink. TAKBIR ALLAH U AKBAR

  28. Ali Abidi from USA

    May Allah (swt) have mercy on, and bless the deceased sister. Shame Upon whoever would commit such a vile act. May Allah (swt) exact punishment for such heinous crime. Thanks for contributing to awareness of this issue.

  29. Tisha Saccarelli from U.S.

    Salam Aleikum. I am thankful that you have taken the time to share this information with others as many of us are not aware and it is because of the reasons you have given. The media did not pick this story up. It does sadden me that this day in time such actions are possible and it is not covered the throughout the Nation. However, I believe I understand the times in which we live. Meaning, as Muslims, we must bring forward such information and not depend on others to do it for us. We are able to do this as you have just demonstrated this by sharing this information with the rest of the world. We must be more determined than we are as Muslims to have equal protection under the law as we are citzens as well. A few decades ago we did not have a "voice" and this was our excuse. We no longer have this as an excuse and as a collective group we must make sure we are protected under the law. Certainly we have the ability to reach out to our congressmen and women to seek change so that such constitutioanlly protected rights are afforded to us as well.

    I will share your piece with others so that they may know. May Allah reward you for taking this responsibility unto yourself to share this information.

  30. Dr Edriss from US

    Inna Lillah wa Inna Elayhe Rajeoon. we belong to Allah and to Him we return.

    it is very sad story, it is time for muslims to live together in America and watch each one on the Other, the way the Prophet taught us.

  31. Brother ISLAM of the ghetto from Jahaliyyaville (america)

    I been try to tell everyone for a long time that is time for the MUSLIMS to HIJIRAH back to DAR_ISLAM.

    MUHAMMAD RASULILAHI (SALLA ALLLAHU ALAIHI WA SALAM)said that in the last days things like this would happen this is already common place here in "uncle sam's" backyard.

    If "things" continue on it's present course it will not be safe to be a "MUSLIM" in this country.

    The #1 cause of death amongst pregnant women in amerikkka is M U R D E R !!!!!!!!!!!!!


  32. baghi from USA

    Sister you don't understand what the real issue for women is. Even before we discuss the real issue of women, we should discuss real issue of Muslims.

    Muslims are not intrested in any issues unless they hear or read them at Newseek, Time.... CNN, BBC which they regularly watch inbetween other entertainment shows.

    And more so Muslim intrest in issues is very limited to arguments and sweet talk. No sense or remedial action is sought. But some get charged by provocation and start defensive khutbahs or mantras.

  33. baghi from USA

    Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajeeon.

    We are from Allah and to Him we shall return.

    May Allah (swt) make her life after death easy and elevate her in ranks amongst the beloved servants of Allah (swt|).

    May Allah (swt) give patience to her family and friends, Ameen.

    May Allah (swt) bring severe punishment to the murderer(s) and criminals in this world and here after, Ameen.