As of this morning, the investigation into the murder on Saturday of Imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin near the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid Mosque in Queens has yielded no information suggesting the victims were targeted because of their religion. Although the motive remains unclear, the attack seems to have been planned.
- On Sunday night, the NYPD took one person into custody for an unrelated charge, but that individual has not been charged or identified at this time.
- On Saturday night, hundreds of residents, religious leaders, and members of Muslim-American groups gathered outside the Al-Furqan Mosque to denounce the shooting.
Nonetheless, the attack in Queens is a tragic reminder of the spate of anti-Muslim violence that has occurred in the United States since last year.
- In May, Georgetown University published a report asserting 174 anti-Muslim incidents in the United States in 2015. They included 12 murders, 29 physical assaults, 50 threats against persons or institutions, 54 acts of vandalism or destruction of property, eight arsons, and nine shootings or bombings. In 2014, the number was 154.
- Since January, New Jersey has received roughly a dozen suspicious activity reports related to religious facilities; one was related to an Islamic Center.
Next month, the Muslim-American community in the United States will observe Eid al-Adha, a multiple-day celebration marking the end of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Eid, which is one of the holiest holidays in all of Islam, will likely begin on or around September 11—the first time it has done so since the terrorist attacks that day in 2001.
- We continue to encourage all faith-based partners to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement and to the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness by calling 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or 2-1-1, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Events Submission Form
Each month, NJOHSP compiles a list of special events scheduled throughout the state. This list is shared with our law enforcement partners. We encourage you to share information on events in your jurisdiction by submitting a Special Events Form at www.njohsp.gov/special-events-submission-form.