Scottish Daily Mail

Rising star of Labour is accused of having two wives

- By Lucy Osborne

A LABOUR rising star who claims to support women’s rights has two wives and asked an imam to sign off a supposed Islamic divorce, it was claimed last night.

Councillor Waseem Zaffar has said he is committed to fighting gender inequality and declared opposition to sharia law.

But the politician and magistrate, once pictured with Labour l eader Ed Miliband, married teacher Ayesha Imdad last year without having formally divorced his first wife.

Instead, Zaffar, who received an MBE in 2012 for his charity work, sent Faraz Begum an Islamic divorce document in the post after walking out on her in 2010. He obtained the document from an imam in Aston, Birmingham.

This means that under English law at least, Zaffar, 33, is still married to Miss Begum, whom he wed in Pakistan in 2003.

Meanwhile, in April last year, Zaffar married his second wife – who is now seven months pregnant – in a lavish Islamic ceremony. Among the hundreds of guests was shadow minister Jack Dromey, the husband of deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman.

MPs and campaigner­s last night called for Zaffar’s suspension from the Labour Party.

Some followers of sharia law believe divorces can be obtained

‘Lavish wedding ceremony’

by men without the knowledge or consent of their wives.

A man simply states ‘talaq’ – meaning ‘I divorce thee’ – three times and it is granted. However, this method is widely frowned upon and most imams require both parties to commit to a threemonth attempt at reconcilia­tion before they grant a divorce.

Miss Begum, 36, a British national who is also Zaffar’s first cousin, received the divorce without warning, a friend said.

If British citizens marry abroad, it is automatica­lly recognised here. For the marriage to end, the couple must obtain a divorce recognised by UK courts.

Miss Begum is seeking such a divorce, understood to be in the process of going through the courts. The master’s student said she was unable to comment due to the legal proceeding­s.

In 2012, Zaffar, a councillor in Birmingham, declared on his website: ‘I have never and will never support sharia law in this country.’ He has also thrown his weight behind several women’s rights campaigns.

Tory MP Dominic Raab called for Labour to investigat­e the councillor.

Zaffar declined to comment.

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