Imam, as­sis­tant shot dead near mosque

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A GUN­MAN shot and killed an imam and his as­sis­tant near their mosque in the bor­ough of Queens in New York dur­ing a brazen at­tack car­ried out in broad day­light.

Po­lice said the imam, iden­ti­fied as Maulama Akon­jee, 55, and his as­sis­tant, 64-year-old Thara Ud­din, were shot just be­fore 2pm in the Ozone Park neigh­bour­hood on Au­gust 13.

The work­ing-class area, on the bor­der be­tween Queens and Brook­lyn, is home to many Mus­lim fam­i­lies from Bangladesh.

Both men were taken to nearby Ja­maica Hospi­tal with gun­shot wounds and were pro­nounced dead there.

The shoot­ing comes amid a cli­mate of grow­ing Is­lam­o­pho­bia and anti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment as a se­ries of deadly at­tacks have un­folded in the United States and abroad, some of which have been claimed by the Is­lamic State group, and Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial con­tender Don­ald Trump’s pro­posal to ban Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the US.

The two men were ap­proached from be­hind by a sus­pect, whom wit­nesses saw flee­ing the scene with a gun, ac­cord­ing to po­lice. The street on which they were killed is called Lib­erty Av­enue.

Of­fi­cers said the in­di­vid­ual is still at large.

US me­dia re­ported that the men were shot af­ter leav­ing the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque af­ter prayers.

How­ever, po­lice said the mo­tive is un­known.

“There is noth­ing in the pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion to in­di­cate that they were tar­geted be­cause of their faith,” po­lice told jour­nal­ists.

But Sarah Say­eed of the New York mayor’s of­fice said, “The NYPD is look­ing at all an­gles of this crime, in­clud­ing the hate crime [an­gle]”.

Ko­bir Chowd­hury, who heads the nearby Masjid Al-Aman mosque in Brook­lyn, said, “Please, read my lips. This is a hate crime, no mat­ter which way you look at it.

“It’s hate against hu­man­ity. It’s hate against Mus­lims. Th­ese are Is­lam­o­phobes who are caus­ing th­ese kind of trou­bles.”

Dur­ing a vigil, the faith­ful prayed out­side the mosque.

“Imag­ine your fa­ther gunned down for no rea­son, and then let that feel­ing, let that mo­ti­vate you to come out of your si­lence,” said Afaf Nasher, the direc­tor of the New York chap­ter of the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic re­la­tions. –

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.