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Phoenix mother accused of assaulting daughter to uphold 'Iraqi culture'

Yusra Farhan is shown in this booking photo from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

A Phoenix mother has been arrested over allegations that she scorched her 19-year-old daughter with a hot spoon to uphold "Iraqi culture" after the younger woman refused an arranged marriage to a man twice her age, police said Thursday.

Yusra Farhan, 50, was taken into custody on aggravated assault charges at her Phoenix home on Wednesday over accusations stemming from a November incident, Phoenix police spokesman James Holmes told Reuters.

The girl’s father and 18-year-old sister were also arrested and face aggravated assault charges, police said.


It was the family’s second round of arrests over the daughter’s treatment.

The November incident came to light after Fahran was first arrested Feb. 8 at a Phoenix hospital emergency room the day after allegedly padlocking the 19-year-old to a bed and beating her for talking to a man her same age at her school, the Phoenix New Times reported, citing court documents. Her father, Mohammed Altameemi, 45, earlier saw the daughter talking to the younger man and took her home and beat her before Fahran arrived, according to police reports.

Court records showed that Farhan admitted hitting the daughter with her hand and shoe and tying her to a bed with a rope.

The victim's sister, Tabarak Altameemi, 18, held her down, police said.

Farhan told officers her daughter was being punished for "speaking to a male subject and her Iraqi culture states a female is not allowed to be having contact with males because females are not allowed to have boyfriends," according to court records.

The 19-year-old daughter, who was not named by police, was released the next morning to go school and was sent to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after talking with school officials about the incident.

When officers attempted to arrest Fahran at the hospital emergency room, other family members intervened, and they were arrested too, New Times said.

The arrests follow a high-profile Arizona murder case that saw an Iraqi immigrant, Faleh Hassan Almaleki, convicted last year of murder for running down his daughter in a Phoenix parking lot in 2009 in what was described as an "honor killing."

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., said such cases were "isolated instances" that are widely chastised by the American Muslim community.

"We condemn any false justification for domestic violence or abuse based on religious beliefs," the spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, said.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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