Brothers take mosque leader hostage after he marries their sister in secret wedding

An Imam was kept locked away in a room for two hours, beaten and had his beard shaved off after he took a secret wife.

The sister of Adal Ditta, 28, Imran Ditta, 33, and Shaban Ditta, 37, was reported missing in May 2021.

The woman left her family home in Rotherham after marrying the Imam of her local mosque. The couple had been in a relationship for around two years before they married in the secret ceremony, Yorkshire Live writes.

Prosecutor James Baird told Sheffield Crown Court last week that on May 30, 2021, the woman messaged her mother on WhatsApp to tell her she was leaving for Birmingham to study Islam, when she was actually moving in with her partner.

Mr Baird said: “She turned her phone off. Her family were worried about her whereabouts and the police were contacted.

“She turned her phone back on three or four days later and saw she had a message from the police asking her to contact them and she did and she told them she was not missing.”

Days later on June 7, the couple were traveling to the West Yorkshire border to visit a supermarket when they were spotted by Shaban Ditta who motioned for them to leave the motorway, which they did and the woman left the car to speak to her brother.

Adal Ditta was jailed for his part in the attack

Mr Baird said: “She told him it was her choice and she wanted to be with him. Shaban Ditta told her he would support her and said ‘let’s talk to mum, I’ll help’ and he drove her towards her home.

“She then noticed Imran Ditta’s car had been driven towards the complainant’s her husband’s which was still parked up.

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“Imran Ditta stopped his car in front of it and then Adal Ditta arrived in a separate car.”

The court heard the man was eventually persuaded to get into a car to “sort matters out” at the family home.

When they arrived at the house, the two Ditta brothers were joined by distant relative Mohammed Jamil, 53, who punched him.

Upon the arrival of Shaban Ditta, the three Ditta brothers then punched the man to his face and head and his phone and car keys were taken from him.

Mr Baird said: “Imran Ditta asked for the pin number to his phone and he was struck to the face and told to put it in, which he did. Imran Ditta came back with an electric bear trimmer. He described Jamil laughing at him and he was put on the floor and kicked in the head and ribs. Imran Ditta and Mohammed Jamil held him on the floor while Adal Ditta shaved his beard.”

The prosecutor added that the complainant in the case had said Jamil had threatened to “finish him, kill him” and called him “Satan.”

Orders were made for the man to leave the town within 24 hours before a call was made to his brother, who in turn called the police.

Mohammed Jamil is a distant relative of the woman
Mohammed Jamil is a distant relative of the woman

Mr Baird said: “When police arrive Imran Ditta, Adal Ditta and Mohammed Jamil were arrested. The complainant had been at the house and assaulted for two hours. He was taken to casualty and it was found he had suffered multiple tissue tears to his head and face, lacerations to his face and pain to his right side.”

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During his police interview, Imran Ditta claimed the assault had happened “in the heat of the moment” and he had “ended up throwing a few punches” but his brother had shaved his beard off. He described the shaving as a “stupid mistake” and said he “recognized it was a symbol of respect and power.”

When Shaban Ditta was eventually arrested, he told officers he had happened across the couple “by chance” on Meadowbank Road and he took her away to his ex-partner’s home and when he returned to the house he noticed the man’s beard had been shaved off .

Mr Baird said: “He said that he had no physical contact with the complainant and he did not cause any injuries.”

In a victim’s personal statement read out to the court, the man said his life has been affected and added: “For the last 20 years I have worked as an Imam. I am highly respected but because of this my reputation has been highly damaged. I am embarrassed by the removal of my beard and I have had to live in hiding.”

The court heard from Michael Walsh, mitigating for Imran Ditta, who said that during his eight-and-a-half months on remand in custody he has suffered financial and personal losses.

Shaban Ditta had a limited part in the assault and had taken his sister away from the scene
Shaban Ditta had a limited part in the assault and had taken his sister away from the scene

He said: “His wife has had their leave her job to care for the children and his mortgage has gone into arrears.”

Mr Walsh added that the assault stemmed from “normal family angst” where the men’s sister had disappeared and they were “upset and concerned” and when they saw her they were “relieved then angry and temperatures flared” but his client “knows he should not have done what he did and he pleaded guilty because he knew he overstepped the mark.”

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Jeremy Robert Hill-Baker mitigating for Jamil said he is a “highly respected member of the community” who told a probation worker in his pre-sentence report that if he “could take it all back, I would.”

Zaiban Alam for Shaban Ditta told the court that he has 18 previous convictions for 28 offenses including wounding, but has turned his life around since his last conviction in 2018.

She added: “The Ditta sister was a young lady who had quite a sheltered life and in these circumstances where she went missing, her family were clearly distraught. His involvement is attributed to a single punch.

“They went for a drive and had a conversation about what she would like to do with her life and he said he would support her. He was not involved in any prolonged incident or shaving of the beard.”

As he jailed for four defendants for a total of 30 months each, Judge Peter Kelson QC said the attack on the man was “sustained” and “persistent” but had not been charged as a religiously aggravated assault.

It was said Imran Ditta has suffered financial losses since his remand into custody
It was said Imran Ditta has suffered financial losses since his remand into custody

He said: “It was a sustained attack. It was a prolonged and persistent attack during which the victim was kicked and punched.

“It’s because three of you disapproved of your sister’s relationship and the fourth, their distant relative’s relationship. She is an adult with every right to choose who she will marry.

“You had every right to disapprove but you took the law into your own hands. Three of you subjected him to a horrific two-hour order and you shaved his beard in an action you took deliberately and it was gratituous degradation.”

All four defendants were also ordered to pay a £190 surcharge within six months.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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