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Islamist Child Bride Scandal in Philadelphia Grows

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A chide bride in Afghanistan (Illustrative photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
A chide bride in Afghanistan (Illustrative photo: Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

The scandal involving a child bride at a radical Philadelphia mosque is just the tip of the iceberg, according to Clarion Intelligence Network sources aware of the investigations into the underage marriages that have taken place for years in the area.

Last March, the victim, who was married at age 14 and is now 17, came forward with allegations of sexual assault against her husband. In a public video posted on Facebook, the young girl said both she and her 10-year old sister were sexually abused by her husband, Rajmann Sanders, shortly after her marriage.

Sanders was charged with rape, indecent assault and forcible compulsion, among other charges. He is even accused of threatening to shoot one girl after assaulting her.

Even though he is behind bars, the victims have been placed in protective custody.

The girl’s marriage to Sanders was her second marriage, as the first one didn’t work out.

The mosque in question, Masjid Uthman Dan Fodiyo, is connected to other extremist mosques and organizations.

The sources say that the weddings for the child marriages that took place at Masjid Uthman Dan Fodiyo are facilitated by an informal network of extremists that extends beyond the mosque’s congregation. The sources say that Islamist men seeking to marry girls traveled from hours away.

The imam of the mosque was directly involved in scheduling and officiating the marriages for years, the sources say.

More and more Muslims from the community are sharing their stories with other Muslims outside of the Philadelphia area after the above story broke.

Multiple accounts reviewed by Clarion Intelligence Network sources confirm that there was widespread awareness of the underage marriages, polygamy and spousal abuse by members of the Masjid Uthman Dan Fodiyo and related mosques, including those with leadership positions.

Some former members of the mosque made vague social media postings about “what happens in that place,” declining to go into detail but confirming they were disturbed by whatever they experienced there.

One testimony shared with a source recounted how one teacher at Masjid Uthman Dan Fodiyo had three wives and forced one of his wives to quit her job and instead apply for welfare and housing assistance.

The first-person account stated:

“They often stressed to parents, mostly mothers, to marry off their daughters at age 14 and up so they do not go out and fornicate and become pregnant.  Then he would give words from Quran, Hadith and their African scholars about how they married young and the community prospered because they were following Allah’s commands.  This bothered many women because many of them were sexually abused as children … The imam often mentioned that all the girls in the community should be married off.”

In some cases, a man would ask his first and/or second wife to help him find a young virgin to marry because that’s what Mohammed did.

Wives who would not agree to the man’s sexual demands would sometimes be threatened with physical abuse as “discipline” or divorce and abandonment.

After the child bride scandal erupted in March, the police conducted a search of the mosque, where the wedding took place, and the imam’s home.

Clarion Intelligence Network sources confirmed not only that such marriages have taken place for years, but participants included others besides the mosque’s attendees. Men seeking to marry girls were referred to the mosque.

The 17-year old victim faulted the mosque leadership for covering up the child abuse.

“The 10-year-old was not handled correctly and everything was swept under the rug. Not only was it wrong, it was wrong to me because at the time I was still his wife,” she said in the video.

She made it clear that there’s a bigger problem in the community she comes from.

“This is not healthy for me or my kids. No one should want their kids around this, especially with the pedophilia, that should be enough to say no I don’t want my kids around this,” she said.

Our sources and open-source research make it clear that this child bride scandal (and the accompanying Islamist extremism) is not limited to a single pervert or even this single mosque.

Most victims do not speak out. Most crimes and abuses are not discovered. And most offenders do not face justice.

 

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Ryan Mauro & Shelby K

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's Shillman Fellow, national security analyst and the director of Clarion Intelligence Network. Mauro is also an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Shelby K is a research project manager at Clarion Project.