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Durban - A Muslim maulana (cleric), who was arrested and detained last week on a charge of assaulting his wife, failed to get any sympathy from a Durban High Court judge who ruled that his urgent bid to be released from custody was an abuse of court process.

The cleric – who cannot be named because he is involved in what he says is an “extremely acrimonious” divorce and custody battle – was being kept at Durban North police cells and was to be taken to Gauteng for his first court appearance this week.

In his urgent application, which came before Judge Mohini Moodley on Friday, he accused his estranged wife of denying him contact with their two children and “intentionally misrepresenting” that he had sexually abused one of them.

This allegation, he claimed, was made only after he was given contact with the children by the court.

“These allegations were so ill-founded, unfounded and outrageous I hired a forensic pathologist to examine the child, but the child refused to allow him to do so,” he said.

The office of the Family Advocate and a private psychologist had both reported a “negative influence” over the children and that he had been referred to as an “ugly man” by some of the maternal relatives.

The psychologist, in a report regarding custody, had said there was no evidence to suggest the father was a threat to their safety and security.

He had also stated that it was well known that “false and unsubstantiated accusations of sexual abuse occur often within the context of bitter and acrimonious divorces”.

The cleric said criminal charges against him had been withdrawn.

Similarly, a criminal charge of attempted murder – for the same alleged assault – had also been withdrawn, but he had now been charged with assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm relating to the incident in April 2014, which occurred when the couple lived in Gauteng and resulted in their separation.

He said his wife had become “uncontrollably angry” and had sworn at him “which is most offensive to Muslims and especially to clerics”.

“Anger is ‘haraam’ – severely prohibited and taboo,” he said.

The fight continued into the night and ended in a physical tussle. They both sustained injuries and scars.

Arguing that he should be released from custody and that he would present himself at court on the specified date, he said he had a good defence to the charge and he also feared being physically or sexually assaulted in detention.

But advocate Ryan Naidu, for the minister of police, said there was no real suggestion of harm and his fear was “far-fetched”.

The papers also did not demonstrate that the police had acted maliciously.

Judge Moodley struck the matter from the roll and ordered the maulana to pay costs on a punitive scale.

The Mercury

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