Was the Killing of NYC Muslim Leader a Hate Crime?

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Religious leaders Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee and his assistant Thara Miah, were shot and killed execution style in broad daylight and near elevated subway tracks in New York City’s Queens borough last weekend, minutes after they walked from midday prayers at a mosque two blocks away. A growing list of such acts of violence against American Muslims have set many communities on edge, reports the Christian Science Monitor.

In the Queens case, police arrested Oscar Morel on Monday. He was charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, but police caution that a motive has not yet been established. Most members of the Bangladeshi community in the area insist that was a hate crime – even though many said they had mostly felt safe in this Ozone Park enclave in the past few months. “I want you to know we are all mourning with you,” Mayor Bill de Blasio told the crowd of more than 1,000 Muslim men attending the funeral prayers. The two victims “were examples of goodness and righteousness,” he said.

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