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DENMARK: Imam arrested for indecent exposure in Malmö

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Danish imam arrested for indecent exposure in Malmö
Imam Shahid Mehdi, of the Tauba mosque (of the Danish Islamic Faith Society)

Denies showing off his genitals to unclean woman.

One of the leading Danish imams was arrested last summer for indecent exposure towards a young Swedish woman in Pildammsparken, Malmö, Sweden. According to police interrogation reports, which Dispatch International has gained access to, the imam supposedly waved his penis close to the face of the woman, and then persecuted her with said body part outside his fly. The imam, who is already notorious for his claims that women not wearing the Islamic veil are responsible if they are raped, may be forced to pay Skr 10,000 (€1,200) plus interest to the young woman. The imam is pleading not guilty.

Shahid Mehdi has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) from the Makkah University in Saudi Arabia, and is thus one of the best-educated imams in Denmark. He practices as imam at the Tauba mosque (of the Danish Islamic Faith Society) on Dortheavej in the northwest quarter of Copenhagen, Denmark, and furthermore oversees the Friday instruction at the Islamic Culture Center in Brønshøj, at the Masjid al-Risalah mosque in Tingbjerg, the Islamic Faith Society in Odense (in central Denmark; the other locations mentioned are near Copenhagen), as well as the Moroccan Culture Center in Albertslund. In 2011, Shahid Mehdi was hired as dean of the Muslim private school Iqra Privatskole in Nørrebro, Copenhagen. In the summer of 2012 Shahid Mehdi was arrested, suspected of having stripped in front of a young woman in Pildammsparken, Malmö, Sweden.

On Tuesday the 21st of August at 20:10,, Shahid Mehdi was arrested by a police patrol after a woman had summoned the police. According to papers from the district court of Malmö, which includes copies of the police interrogation reports, Shahid Mehdi is “suspected of sexual assault, because he had unzipped his pants and drawn out his penis before the face of the plaintiff [the young woman], who was squatting to train her dog. The suspect [Shahid Mehdi] then ran after the plaintiff, his penis hanging out of his pants.”

The plaintiff, whose first name is Gabriella, explains the case to the police as follows:

“The man came closer to Gabriella, who found the situation somewhat unsettling. She tried to get her dog away from the scene, but it was mostly interested in lying down. Gabriella sat down to get the dog on a leash and walk out from the place. Just as she squatted, the man started to walk straight up to her while asking: ‘Hi, what is your name?’ Gabriella managed to say no more than ‘Gabriella’ before the man unzipped his pants and took out his penis. Gabriella judged the distance between her face and the penis as approximately ½ – 1 meter (1.5 – 3 feet). Gabriella then took her dog and ran out of the park, towards the road Roskildevägen. [...]

“Gabriella cannot tell if the man was even wearing underwear, for he simply unzipped his pants and drew out his penis. Gabriella perceived the situation as very unpleasant, as he did not seem to be a ‘normal flasher’ merely wanting to show off, because he got so close to her and later ran after her. It is Gabriella’s impression that he meant to catch hold of her.”

Shahid Mehdi was interrogated on August 21st 2012 from 11:56 PM. As Mehdi speaks a poor Swedish, an interpreter in Urdu (the national language of Pakistan, Shahid Mehdi’s ancestral country). The interrogation, which ended 26 minutes later at 12:22 AM, includes the following:

“As he sat down on a park bench, a woman with a dog appeared. The woman was sitting on the lawn in front of him. Mehdi was still talking to his wife on his mobile phone. He then got up and walked towards the toilet in the park, while still talking to his wife on the phone. When he got to the toilet, the stench was so bad that he went to the bushes, looked around, and seeing nobody in the vicinity took a leak there.

“After having peed, he meant to continue his walk but then the police appeared behind him. Mehdi was asked if he had shown his genitals to the woman with the dog, to which Mehdi responded “No”. He was asked if he had run or walked after the woman with the dog. He responded that he had not followed the woman, and wanted to clarify, mentioning that it was far from the bench to the place where he peed.”

Shahid Mehdi was interrogated again on Wednesday the 22nd of August at the Davidshall police station. The interrogation report mentions that Mehdi pleads not guilty, and he considers himself a target of discrimination.

The claim from Mehdi that he was on the phone to his wife is not supported by police investigation. A paper (dated January 21st 2013) from the district court in Malmö, regarding how Shahid Mehdi used his telephones, states:

“Both telephones [of Shahid Mehdi] were emptied by police technicians in order to substantiate the claim from the suspect that he was talking with his wife at the time of the alleged crime. The technical investigation did not conform the statement of the suspect. At the time, he was not talking on any of his phones.”

Shahid Mehdi has neglected to contact the police twice, which has delayed the case. In the meantime, the young woman Gabriella, who accuses Shahid Mehdi of indecent exposure and demands 10,000 Swedish kroner (€1,200) in damages, has moved to the US. That has, according to the Malmö district court, made it more difficult to resolve the case, and at the moment, no further hearings are scheduled. However, the case has not been shelved, and according to the court, there will be a decision on it at some point in the future.

If Shahid Mehdi is found guilty and has to pay compensation to the young woman, it will carry interest from the time of the crime, 21st of August 2012.

In Denmark, Shahid Mehdi is notorious for his statements about women and rape:

“Women have no claim to respect when they walk around without a veil. Thus, they can blame themselves when assaulted. … All crimes against women are due to their not covering up. When they do not cover up, one has no respect for them. … She is not obedient to her Lord and Creator, who twice in the Quran orders her to cover up. … Women make the clean society dirty when they walk around unveiled. They have no claim to respect and are not valuable, in contrast to those wearing the veil.” (Shahid Mehdi in the show Tal med Gud (“Talk to God”) on DR2 (Danish state broadcaster) on September 22nd 2004).

“It is partially the fault of the women if they get raped, and partially the fault of society. Their clothing is a problem for society … Women have to wear a veil if they want anybody’s respect.” (Shahid Mehdi to Danish daily BT, September 23rd 2004)