The husband of a Kurdish woman who recently fled Iraq for Israel after claiming he threatened to sell her to the Islamic State jihadist group has accused her of making up the story in order to get asylum.
Contacted by the Iraqi Kurdish Rudaw news agency Saturday, Sayed Gull Ata Qadir said that his wife, Bahar Mohammed Ghafour, was not Jewish as she claimed, and called her allegations against him “baseless and inaccurate.”
Last week, Ghafour, who identified herself only as Liza, recounted a harrowing tale of domestic abuse to Israel’s Channel 2 in an exclusive interview.
She tearfully recounted how her husband had recently become religious and demanded she do the same. “I was afraid for my life because he was threatening me, saying that if I was not committed to Muslim principles in the Quran, he would hand me over to the Islamic State,” she said. “He told me that I behave like a Jew.”
“That is why I felt my life was at great risk because I saw with my own eyes what happened to the Yazidis. They were all killed, just because they were not Muslims,” Ghafour said.
But, according to Qadir, his wife of 20 years is an observant Iraqi Muslim who tricked Israeli authorities into helping her flee the country.
“She is not Jewish, but a Muslim and she lied to them,” he claimed to Rudaw.
“Her comments are baseless and inaccurate. When I married this woman she used to wear hijab. She was my wife for 20 years,” Qadir said, adding that he was not a religious man. “My wife’s family are Muslims and they do pray. But I have never prayed in my life.”
Qadir said the couple’s four children were “going crazy” since their mother left and made the claims against him.
“She did all this in order to obtain asylum,” he said.
Qadir also told the paper his wife’s two sisters had similarly tricked European authorities into granting them asylum.
He said he plans to file a complaint against his wife at the Israeli Embassy in Turkey.
Ghafour could not immediately be reached for comment.
According to Channel 2, several Israeli officials helped Ghafour escape to Israel, including Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, who personally granted her an entry visa.
Later, Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoub Kara helped Ghafour reunite with her long-lost Israeli relatives. The TV report showed Ghafour meeting her grandmother in Moshav Patish in southern Israel last week.