Spiritual leader faces court on rape charge
January 21, 2010 - 3:19PM
The spiritual leader of a Sydney religious group dedicated to divine love has faced court today on a charge of rape.
Mohammad Memar Zadeh, 38, of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order based in Balmain appeared via video link at Central Local Court this morning.
He was refused bail by the magistrate, Jane Culver, and remains in custody.
He did not enter a plea.
He was charged with aggravated sexual intercourse without consent in December with a woman who was, according to court documents, "under his authority" as spiritual leader of the organisation.
The alleged offence took place in Chatswood between 3pm and 5pm on December 5.
Mr Memar Zadeh was arrested by Newtown police on December 10 at the Sufi Centre on Mullens Street, Balmain, where he lived.
The Nimatullahi Sufi Order is a spiritual organisation dedicated to the "realisation of truth through love and devotion", its website says.
The centre offers a public space for meditation on Thursday and Sunday nights.
Prominent members of the organisation include advertising guru Siimon Reynolds, who was listed in NSW Government Fair Trading records as a public officer of the organisation from 2001 to 2009.
Mr Reynolds is the author of four self-help books including Become Happy in Eight Minutes.
The Iranian based Sufi order has branches in New York, London and Tehran.
The current "master" of the order, Alireza Nurbakhsh, a lawyer who lives in the order's estate in Banbury, England, has not responded to queries.
Mr Nurbakhsh succeeded to the role after his father, Dr Javad Nurbakhsh, died in October last year, aged 82.
Dr Nurbakhsh had been the master of the order since his appointment at the age of 26.
The case has been adjourned until April 22.
Same Ole same Ole.