The Imam (Muslim priest) of Al-Furqan Jame mosque in Queens, New York, was killed with his assistant about 1.50 pm on Saturday August 13th 2016 after leaving the Mosque following the afternoon (Zohar) prayers . Imam Maulana Akonjee (55) and Thara Uddin (64) were both shot in the head.
At this stage, the reason for the two murders is unclear. The investigating NYPD Deputy Police Inspector, Henry Sautner, stated that it cannot be concluded that the men were targeted because of their faith. There was an altercation at the mosque earlier, and investigations are underway to determine if the murders are related to that.
We must be careful not to assume that this is a hate crime against Muslims, the same way that as Muslims we do not like to be assumed terrorists or criminals because of our faith. We need to acknowledge the integrity of the police in America, and the fact that investigations are carried out independently without political interference. We pray for the departed souls and hope the perpetrators of this heinous crime are caught as soon as possible. All humans should stand together against such acts that have left 2 families without their fathers each leaving behind a wife and three children.