"People sprinkle dirt over the grave of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at Fairview Memorial Park in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday, August 5, 2022. A funeral service was held for Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday. Both Muslim men were shot and killed near their homes only six days apart and law enforcement believes one suspect could be responsible for killing three Muslim men in the past nine months." —Chancey Bush/ Albuquerque Journal
Over one thousand mourners gathered at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday afternoon to honor two Muslim men who have been shot and killed in the past week and a half.
"More than 1,000 mourners gathered at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday afternoon for the funerals of two Muslim men who were ambushed and shot to death in the past week and a half." —Elise Kaplan
The police are investigating the case, and they have strong suspicions that the same murderer—or murderers—is responsible for these attacks which appear to have been religiously motivated.
"Police have said they are investigating whether the same person — or persons — is responsible for their deaths and that of another Muslim man, 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, who was killed in November behind the halal market he and his brother owned." —Elise Kaplan
This is a scary time for the Muslim community, so they requested that Albuquerque Police Department officers attended the event as they were mourning due to safety concerns.
"The crowd — mostly, but not entirely, Muslim — filled the mosque for the reading of the Friday prayer and the funeral prayer. Several police cars were parked nearby. An Albuquerque Police Department spokesman said community leaders had requested their presence as a precaution. APD is also increasing its presence at all mosques in the city for the foreseeable future." —Elise Kaplan
Devastatingly, both men were innocent people who did not deserve to die.
This was a sad day, and a reminder that the Muslim community needs to be extremely cautious, despite the injustice of it all.
The nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy group is offering a $5000 reward to anyone who comes forth with information pertaining to this case.
"...the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, based in Washington, D.C., announced it is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in the case." —Elise Kaplan
If a motive of bias is determined, Nihad Awad believes that state and federal authorities should apply hate crime charges.
“If a bias-motive is determined, state and federal authorities should apply appropriate hate crime charges." —Nihad Awad (National Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations)
The Anti-Defamation League's Mountain States Region also called on authorities to pursue hate crime charges.
"After news reports on the incidents began circulating, the Anti-Defamation League’s Mountain States Region also called for prosecutors to pursue hate charges. The league cited FBI statistics that found religion-based hate crimes reached an historically high level in 2020 — the most recent year for which statistics are available. It said Muslims were the group that experienced the second-highest number of hate crimes across the country." —Elise Kaplan
Police are asking anyone with information pertaining to this case to contact Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP.