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Imam and assistant shot dead near mosque in Queens, New York City

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 14th August 2016 15:53
By i24news
Published: 08/14/2016 - 07:50am, updated: 08:11am

Mourners gather near a mosque in Ozone Park, in New York, where an imam and his assistant were shot and killed, August 13, 2016

Mourners from the local Muslim community called the shootings a hate crime, demand justice

An imam and his assistant were shot and killed Saturday by an unidentified assailant near their mosque in the Queens borough of New York City. 

The imam has been identified as Maulama Akonjee, 55, and the assistant as Thara Uddin, 64, the New York Times reports. Akonjee had moved to New York City from Bangladesh two years ago, according to local reports.

A police spokesman said the two men were approached from behind and shot in the head by a suspect described as having a "medium complexion."

Mourners from the local Muslim community rallied in response to the killings, calling them a hate crime and chanting: "We want justice."

Police have said there are "no indications" at this time that the two men were targeted because of their religion, adding that the motivation was still under investigation.

✕"We feel really insecure and unsafe in a moment like this," Milat Uddin, who prays at the local mosque, toldCBS New York. "It's really threatening to us, threatening to our future, threatening to our mobility in our neighborhood, and we're looking for the justice."

"These were two very beloved people. These were community leaders," Reuters quotes Afaf Nasher, of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "There is a deep sense of mourning and an overwhelming cry for justice to be served."

The Imam had apparently just left the mosque after prayers when he was shot and killed. The mosque serves the Ozone Park areas large Bangladeshi community.

(Staff with agencies)
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