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Imam Killed Outside NYC Mosque; Investigators Clueless

Image: Imam Killed Outside NYC Mosque; Investigators Clueless

Police sketch of suspect is displayed by members of mosque. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Monday, 15 Aug 2016 06:29 AM

An iman killed in New York City with a friend outside a mosque as they left afternoon prayers was shot in the back of the head by a man who then fled, according to surveillance video.

Although police said no motive had been established for the killing of Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and 64-year-old Thara Uddin on Saturday afternoon near the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque, community members worried the slayings could be rooted in intolerance, reported The Associated Press.

"There's nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith," said Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner of the New York Police Department.

The imam's daughter, Naima Akonjee, said her father — described by worshippers as a pious man who gave compelling readings from the Quran — didn't "have any problems with anyone."

She said the imam and Uddin were close friends who always walked together to the mosque from their homes on the same street.

Police said the men were shot in the head as they left the mosque in the Ozone Park section of Queens shortly before 2 p.m. They later were pronounced dead.

Sautner said that video surveillance showed they were approached from behind by a man a man in a dark polo shirt and shorts who shot them and then fled south on 79th Street with the gun still in his hand.

Police released a sketch early Sunday of a dark-haired, bearded man wearing glasses. Police said witnesses described the shooter as a man with a medium complexion.

No arrests had been made by early Sunday.

Members of the Bangladeshi Muslim community served by the mosque said they want the shootings to be treated as a hate crime. More than 100 people attended a rally Saturday night and chanted "We want justice!"

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group, held a news conference near the shooting scene, where Kobir Chowdhury, a leader at another local mosque, said, "Read my lips: This is a hate crime" directed at Islam. "We are peace-loving."

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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An iman killed in New York City with a friend outside a mosque as they left afternoon prayers was shot in the back of the head by a man who then fled, according to surveillance video.
imam, killed, nyc, mosque
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2016-29-15
Monday, 15 Aug 2016 06:29 AM
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