Manchester mosque imam forced to quit after secretly marrying second wife

A leading imam had to quit his post after it surfaced that he had left his first wife and married a girl 30 years younger than him.

According to MailOnline, Qari Javed Akhtar, 58, an imam at Manchester’s Central Mosque, married a woman named Sairish Ashraf, 23, six months ago.

Sairish’s brother accused Akhtar of befriending the family, marrying his younger sister without their consent and running off with her last month.

The secret marriage has sparked controversy in the local Muslim community and Akhtar had to step down from his role as chairman of International Na’at Association.

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Akhtar is believed to have wed Sairish Ashraf but it is not yet known if he has married her under the British law.

Akhtar’s new wife’s brother Arshad Mehmood posted a video on Facebook calling on the mosque to sack him. “I’m so disgusted by what has happened. He pressurised her and took advantage of her in a vulnerable position. He never spoke to us that he wanted to marry my sister. He has taken away my innocent sister before Christmas and took her away to Manchester,” he said.

Sairish Ashraf insisted she was not taken against her will. Speaking to media, she said: “I have seen a video in which my brother Arshad Mahmood said that I have been forced by Qari Javed and taken away along with him. In fact this is not true. I have solemnised Nikah (marriage) and found him a good person.” She added: “My family knew about all this issue. My brothers knew about this. My relatives knew about this issue.”

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Sairish Ashraf claimed a big conspiracy was being hatched against them and her family despite being aware of the whole scenario disgraced Qari Javed.

Qari Javed said: “No one can take away the sister or daughter of any person like they claim. We have solemnised Nikah. I know many of my friends are hurt due to these videos. I apologised to all of them and told them whatever I did is legal and Islamic.”

One member of the mosque, said, “That man [Qari Javed Akhtar] has no bad character in him. He’s a very well-respected, gifted man. The community is going to miss him.”

He added, “The man has done nothing wrong. What is the problem in a man who doesn’t drink? Who doesn’t smoke? Who doesn’t take drugs? I’m sure the only reason he has stepped down is because of all the questions people are asking of his private life.”

Manchester Central Mosque declined to comment, MailOnline reported.

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