NEW YORK (AP) – The leader of a New York City mosque and an associate have been fatally shot in a brazen daylight attack.
Police say 55-year-old Imam Maulama Akonjee and his 64-year-old associate were shot in the back of the head as they left the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in Queens shortly before 2 p.m. Saturday.
Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner says Akonjee was killed. The other man was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Sautner says no motive has been determined. No suspects are in custody.
Members of the Bangladeshi Muslim community are holding a rally at the site where an imam and his friend were fatally shot while walking home from a mosque.
Police say they haven’t determined a motive for the killings Saturday, and that there’s no indication the men were targeted because of their faith. But speakers at the rally in Queens say they fear the men could be victims of a hate crime.
Scores of people gathered at the shooting site are chanting “We want justice!”
But a man who worships at the mosque is blaming the shooting on anti-Muslim rhetoric from some political figures.
Millat Uddin says the shooting “could be a net result of the politics that is going on.”
Uddin has called on authorities to treat the killings as a hate crime.
The mosque serves a community of Bangladeshi immigrants.