A beloved imam and his assistant were gunned down execution-style in broad daylight Saturday as they walked home in their traditional robes after prayers at a Queens mosque — and some members of the community believe it was a hate crime.
Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, both died at Jamaica Hospital, police said.
The son-in-law of Akoniee — who had seven children and three grandchildren — told The Post he was shocked by the cold-blooded killings.
“This is 100 percent a hate crime. My father-in-law was an imam, he wore traditional garb all the time,” said Momin Ahmed.
Police confirm the victims were not robbed when they were shot in the back of their heads by a lone gunman on foot, but stressed it was premature to call it a hate crime.
“There is nothing in the preliminary investigation that would indicate that they were targeted because of their faith,” NYPD Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner said.
Nonetheless, Mayor de Blasio sent his senior community affairs adviser to ease the fear the murders sparked in the neighborhood.
Sarah Sayeed tried to calm a group of about 2,000 people who gathered Saturday night at an Ozone Park mosque and shouted, “We want justice!”
“We are committed to a full investigation of any crime against any individual and we want you to know that the NYPD is looking at all angles,” said Sayeed.
“We want justice!”
And what exactly would that be? Won’t the normal reactions and procedures the police follow for any other murder suffice? Your shouting suggests that either you don’t think the police will take these murders seriously or you’re asking for special treatment. Or maybe you’re nervous that a vigilante hit squad might be out there wreaking havoc upon random innocent Muslims and you want that nipped in the bud as soon as possible.
That’s what we all want, the senseless killing of people, people simply walking down the street living their lives as innocents, to cease.
The just released sketch of the shooter, according to witnesses, looks Muslim to me.