A Moroccan immigrant was being held on suspicion of murder by Long Beach police for allegedly attacking his former wife in a crowded shopping mall dining area, stabbing her numerous times before slitting her throat and nearly decapitating her.
The man, Ahmed Amarir, 43, claimed that he was acting in accordance with Islamic law when he made the alleged attack.
More than 150 people were in the dining area of Long Beach Plaza Friday afternoon when Amarir confronted Malika Amarir, 32, to seek a reconciliation, Sgt. Terry Walton said.
When the woman refused, Amarir, who was dressed entirely in black, began beating her and stabbing her in the chest and throat with a seven-inch ceremonial knife. Horrified shoppers tried to stop the attack, Walton said, but Amarir threatened them with the knife and continued stabbing the woman.
Action by Onlookers
Onlookers pelted the man with bottles, dining trays and food throughout the attack, Walton said. Amarir, who was taken into custody without incident after the attack, told police he was acting according to Islamic law and that Friday was an Islamic holy day.
An expert in Muslim customs, however, said there was no holy day Friday and that there are no provisions in Islamic law allowing a husband to kill his wife when she divorces him, police said.
Amarir's Long Beach neighbors told police that Amarir brought his wife to the United States from Morocco six years ago after their arranged marriage. Walton said the couple separated some time last summer.