A former leader of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya in Texas is facing multiple charges and allegations of sexual abuse of a minor boy from the community over two years.
The alleged crimes took place between March 2018 and March 2020 while the accused, Muneeb Ur Rehman Ahmad, 38, was working on an assignment from the religious body to oversee boys between seven to 15 years of age at Ahmadi Bait-ul-Ikram Mosque, Dallas city, according to a report compiled by FACE, a US-based non-profit with a mission “to foster safe community environments by holding abusive religious and community leadership accountable”.
Muneeb Ahmad was arrested on March 11, 2020, and was later released on bail after furnishing a $100,000 surety bond. He faces at least six charges, including three charges of sexual assault of a child and three charges of indecency with a child by sexual contact. These charges are in two different counties - Denton and Collin. There are two other allegations of the same nature against Muneeb in Harris County. His trial has yet to conclude. He is from Canada but due to the confiscation of his passport by the court he cannot leave the US.
According to the FACE report, the accused groomed the 14-year-old boy under his care. Over the course of at least 11 documented encounters, the accused was reported to have sexually abused the boy at his apartment, in his car, and during community events and on youth group trips, they both attended. During the sex abuse interaction, the victim was appointed as Nazim Atfal (head of boys aged seven to 15) on July 21, 2019. The identity of the victim and his family were not disclosed over his request.
After learning about the grooming and sexual assault attempts, the
victim’s family went to the police and Muneeb Ahmad was arrested on May 11,
2020. He was subsequently removed from the post of Motamid Khuddam.
The victim’s father told Samaa Digital that he had repeatedly asked different higher-ups in the Jamaat to remove Muneeb’s supervisor Waqas Hussain, who was the Quaid (leader) in the hierarchy. But the Jamaat did not cooperate with him and did not pay attention to his repeated requests to remove Waqas Hussain (who happens to be married to Muneeb’s sister). He said he used non-Ahmadi bureaucratic connections in Pakistan to persuade the Jamaat to have Waqas Hussain removed in June 2020. He said that instead of showing sympathies with his son, the leadership removed him as Nazim Atfal.
“We are no longer active members of the Jamaat and none of us is even visiting the Bait Ul Ikram,” said the father of the victim.
The victim said in a statement to FACE that: “They abandoned me when I needed them (the) most. I want my community to do better. This is not a matter that can be fixed by keeping it behind closed doors, or by telling girls to cover up, it can happen to anyone.”
He said, “If there are any survivors from our community who have been abused, please come forward. Now is the time for you. Nothing will change unless we as a community foster safe environments where crucial social issues like these can be openly discussed without any judgment and dealt with transparently”.
In a written statement given to FACE, the victim’s father said his family is feeling a deep sense of betrayal, anger and loss. He said that nothing can ever bring back the sense of safety and trust in community that has been lost.
Samaa Digital tried to contact accused Muneeb and Hamid Sheikh, the president of the Dallas Jamaat, but none of them responded. They both were sent messages through WhatsApp requesting comment. After several hours of messaging, Samaa Digital tried to make a call to Sheikh but could not establish contact.
Muneeb’s case is coming to light after revelations of two other Ahmadis, including Dr Muhammad Afzal Upal and Nida Ul Nasser, 36, who has alleged being sexually molested from early childhood to the age of 25. She spoke of a long history of sexual abuse by her father and by close family members of the global leader of the community who continue to serve despite serious allegations.
The UK police is investigating Nida’s case. Dr Upal, the chair of the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, last week alleged that one of his male relatives had sexually abused him when he was six years at Rabwa, the spiritual headquarters of the Jamaat in Pakistan. Dr Upal has not reported to the police so far. Since Nida and Upal’s allegations came to light, the hashtag #AhmadiMeToo has been trending on Twitter.