Man Charged In Fatal Shooting Near Mosque
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Man Charged In Fatal Shooting Near Mosque

This blatant and often-tragic Islamophobia needs to stop.

Man Charged In Fatal Shooting Near Mosque
The National Herald

Shortly before 2:00 p.m. last Saturday afternoon, Imam Alauddin Akonjee and his assistant, Thara Miah, were fatally gunned down in broad daylight in Ozone Park, New York after praying at their nearby mosque. Both men were transported to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition, where they later died from their wounds.

As they had just come from praying at their place of worship, the two men were dressed in their traditional religious garb. While NYPD investigators have said there is little evidence to yet suggest a motive and have been hesitant to rule this incident a hate crime, many members within the predominantly Bangledeshi and Muslim communities in that area are now paralyzed with fear.

For his part, Mayor Bill de Blasio did what he could to assuage those concerns within the community by referring to the Muslim community as continually within the "crosshairs of bigotry." While Mayor de Blasio is correct, soothing words can only do so much for so long.

Surveillance footage caught the perpetrator leaving the scene of the crime with the alleged murder weapon in his hand. During his hasty escape, he hit a cyclist with a vehicle that matched the description of the murder suspect and the individual was able to jot down the suspect's license plate number for the police. Shortly after the hit and run, police found the suspect's black SUV parked at the intersection of Pine Street and Pitkin Avenue. Officers waited for the suspect to exit the vehicle. Instead, he smashed into a police cruiser in an attempt to escape and was quickly apprehended.

The suspect in question was identified as 35 year old Oscar Morel of Brooklyn, New York. After searching Morel's apartment, police found what they believed to be the murder weapon as well as clothes that matched the description of what the Morel was wearing during the time of the murder. All of the items were found concealed within a cavity in the wall that had been sealed over.

Yesterday, just two days after the fatal shooting, Morel was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and another two counts of criminal possession of a weapon. Although this case will likely see some justice of semblance served, how much more can we reasonably expect the Muslim community to endure before we all step in and start doing our part to educate others?

People fear what they don't understand and clearly, there are many in the country who don't understand Islam or its practitioners. Many within Ozone Park's Muslim community now live in fear, based simply on their religion. As Americans, its an obligation to defend every citizen's constitutional right to the freedom of religion. We don't get to pick and choose who these rights apply to and we need to do more to stem the tide of senseless violence that has been so pervasive and brazen in response to our Muslim communities across the nation.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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