New Jersey Imam Shot And Killed Outside His Mosque

The imam of a mosque in Newark, New Jersey, was shot and killed early on Wednesday morning by an unknown attacker who remains at large.

Authorities said in a news conference that they believe the killing of Imam Hassan Sharif was not motivated by domestic terrorism or “bias”.

Mr Sharif was found with multiple gunshot wounds outside his mosque, Masjid-Muhammad-Newark, before dawn.

He was taken to hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.

“The evidence collected thus far does not indicate that this was an act motivated by bias or an act of domestic terrorism,” New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin told reporters.

He added that investigators normally would “not go public with this type of information so early in our process” but that a rise in prejudice against the Muslim community compelled them to reveal their preliminary findings.

“I know that in light of global events and with a rise in bias directed at many communities we’re experiencing across our state – particularly the Muslim community – there are many in New Jersey right now who are feeling a heightened sense of fear or anxiety at the news of this slaying,” he said.

Governor Phil Murphy released a statement asking for anyone with information to come forward.

“I want to assure the Muslim community and people of all faiths that we will do everything in our power to keep all residents safe, especially in or near our houses of worship,” he said.

A $25,000 (£19,000) reward is being offered to anyone that comes forward with information about the shooting.

Neighbours told local news channel WABC-TV that they suspect the attack was the result of crime in New Jersey’s largest city.

“The crime in this area just has to stop,” said Newark resident Paulette Williams.

Mr Sharif worked as a transportation security officer at Newark Liberty International Airport for years alongside his duties at the mosque.

The New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it was “devastated” at the news of Mr Sharif’s killing and described him as “a beacon of leadership and excellence.”

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he was “heartbroken by the shooting death” of Mr Sharif and said “his heart is with the members of the Masjid Muhammad and the entire” New Jersey Muslim community.

Local Aneesah Abdullah described Mr Sharif to the BBC’s US partner, CBS, as “just a good person overall. I can’t think of anything wrong he’s done to anyone, and that comes from my heart.”




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