EXCLUSIVE – The family of Mitchells Plain born Masnoenah Al Taheri are urging the community to assist them in their efforts to get their daughter home. Al Taheri is currently being held captive by her Yemeni native husband in a remote village. For almost eleven years now, Masnoenah has struggled to get out of the hold of her husband and regain her freedom.
However, with little to no assistance from the South Africa government, the family has sought the assistance from a local alim, Imam Ismail Esack who has extensive experience in locating South African women who are subjected to abuse by their foreign husbands in other countries.
“When an individual finds themselves in a situation like this, the captors are usually someone who is really close to them. When a person is being denied freedom of movement in any area and if you are denied of basic access to communication this infringes on the basic human rights of that person,” he explained.
“Right now, Yemen is an extremely volatile area and to gain access to its tribal villages will take a lot of pre-planning along with the guidance of someone who can not only speak their language but who understands their culture as well.”
Imam Esack said there were enormous challenges the family will face in their attempts to get their daughter home.
“This is not a simple task. As Yemen has no real government but is rather governed by shariah law, it does not allow South African diplomatic missions in its country. So, if we were to go there to retrieve Masnoenah, we will basically be by ourselves.”
However, he said these words were not meant to discourage the family at all. Imam Esack said he will do whatever he possibly can to assist the family in this matter.
Just recently, Imam Esack returned from a trip to Dubai where he managed to rescue a young South African woman from her abusive husband. Esack related many other stories of wives in a similar context in which he managed to return the woman to her parents.
Imam Esack got into contact with Masnoenah’s family about four years ago with little success in the matter. This time however, Imam Esack has offered his support and assistance in making the trip with her father to Yemen to speak with tribal leaders and Masnoenah’s husband to allow her to return home.
Imam Esack believes the trip will be daunting, but if research and investigations are done before hand, the trip could result in a successful rescue mission. However, as Masnoenah’s parents are pensioners, covering the travelling cost has applied more pressure to the traumatised family.
Anyone who can provide assistance in either using personal resources or links in Yemen to locate Masnoenah’s husband’s village or assist through providing donations towards the travelling fees are urged to contact VOC Newsroom on 021 442 3510. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)