Report accuses Arizona imam of misconduct and abuse

Religion News Service | 11/14/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — A new report by an advocacy group accuses a Phoenix imam of sexual battery, child abuse, misappropriation of charitable funds and falsely presenting himself as a single man to pursue relationships with female congregants while having two concurrent concealed marriages.

After an 11-month independent investigation into accusations against Moataz Moftah, who teaches youth at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, the victim’s advocacy organization Facing Abuse in Community Environments published the 14-page report on Tuesday (Nov. 12) outlining his alleged misconduct.

Imam - Islamic - Community - Center - Phoenix

Neither the imam nor the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix responded to a request for comment. In an interview with FACE, Moftah denied all accusations, according to the report.

Moftah’s “repetitive and egregious misconduct completely disqualifies him from serving as a religious leader, teacher or any professional employment within the Muslim community,” FACE founder Alia Salem, who reviewed police reports filed by victims and interviewed 34 people including Moftah for her investigation, alleged in the report.

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The investigation began after a complaint was lodged with FACE in 2018 by a congregant of the Islamic Center of North East Valley in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Moftah was formerly employed.

“FACE is under no illusions with respect to how difficult, scary, and painful the process of accountability is in the face of abuse,” Salem said. “However, our obligations as individuals, and also as a community, is first and foremost to protect the vulnerable among us from harm using all available resources.”

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Moftah, who studied in Egypt before immigrating to the U.S. in 2012 to work as an imam in Indiana, has been employed as a religious leader at five Islamic institutions and worked as a contractor for at least eight more.

The investigation found that he had been fired for misconduct from one of those institutions, Ohio’s Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, after he allegedly concealed a...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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