Fauzia A. Mohammad, 19,

January, 2011

An Afghan refugee admitted today that he stabbed and seriously wounded his sister during an argument that began when she tried to leave her family.

Waheed Allah Mohammad, 22, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault in exchange for a prison term of at least five years and no more than 15 years.

His trial was to begin next Monday.

During his plea before Monroe County Court Judge John J. Connell, Mohammad said he intended to kill his sister, Fauzia A. Mohammad, 19, when he stabbed her multiple times outside his family’s apartment on Linhome Drive in Henrietta.

The attack occurred when a female friend of Fauzia Mohammad picked her up at the apartment to take her to New York City, where she intended to get a job and start a new life. During a heated dispute involving the entire family, Mohammad got a knife from his car, chased his sister, and stabbed her.

Mohammad told sheriff’s investigators that he attacked his sister because she had disgraced his family and was a “bad Muslim girl,” according to court documents.

Although he hinted to investigators that he was trying to restore lost family honor, Assistant District Attorney Joseph Waldorf declined to characterize the stabbing as an honor attack —an attack intended to restore family honor that is not uncommon in South Asia but is rare in the United States.

Mohammad’s lawyer, Assistant Public Defender John Bradley, said his client snapped as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder brought about by his harrowing life in Afghanistan. Before Mohammad left his country in 2005, he was kidnapped by the radical Islamist Taliban, witnessed the killing of a friend, and tried unsuccessfully to flee on a boat of refugees.

“I think it was probably more of a domestic violence incident than an attempted honor killing,” Bradley said. “It (honor killing) is a nice headline but it doesn’t seem to fit what happened here.”

If the case had gone to trial, Bradley said he would have argued that Mohammad acted under extreme emotional disturbance because of his experiences in Afghanistan. If jurors convicted him of attempted murder but accepted that defense, his conviction would have automatically been reduced to attempted first-degree manslaughter, which carries a prison term of up to 15 years.

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