New York imam and assistant shot dead

A New York imam and his assistant have been shot dead as they walked along a street in the borough of Queens.

The BBC reports that the men were approached from behind by a man who shot them both in the head.

Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, moved to the city from Bangladesh two years ago. Police said there were as yet “no indications” the men were targeted because of their faith

A man holding a gun was seen leaving the scene of the shooting in the Ozone Park area, but no-one has been arrested.

“He would not hurt a fly,” Imam Akonjee’s nephew Rahi Majid, told the New York Daily News. “You would watch him come down the street and watch the peace he brings.”

Milat Uddin, who worships at the mosque, told Associated Press that authorities should treat the killing as a hate crime.

“We feel really insecure and unsafe in a moment like this,” he told CBS New York. “It’s really threatening to us, threatening to our future, threatening to our mobility in our neighbourhood, and we’re looking for the justice.”

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The New York Chapter of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) released a statement reacting to the fatal shootings.
Afaf Nasher said: “The perpetrator of these senseless killings must be swiftly apprehended and face the full force of the law. We ask anyone with information about this attack to contact appropriate law enforcement authorities.”

CAIR has reported an unprecedented spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide since Donald Trump’s call for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any incidents to police and to CAIR’s Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420.

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