Police in Albuquerque are investigating the murders of three Muslim men they believe may be related.
Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, two Pakistani men visiting the same mosque, were shot dead within a week of each other, police said. Mr. Hussain, who was murdered Monday, was director of land use and land use for the city of Española, about 90 miles north of Albuquerque. Mr Hussein, killed on July 26, was working in a local cafe.
A third Muslim man was killed just before midnight Friday, according to police. The identity and age of the latest victim has not been released, although police said he was a “young man” from South Asia.
Authorities said they believed the recent violence could also be linked to the November 2021 murder in Albuquerque of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim man from Afghanistan. Mr Ahmadi was killed outside a business he and his brother ran on San Mateo Boulevard, police said.
The authorities did not elaborate on why they believed the killings were related and did not say if there were any witnesses to the killings, but they said they believed the Muslim community was the target.
The Albuquerque Police Department, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, are asking city residents to provide information that may be related to the murders.
“This is something that affects all of us,” Bernalillo County District Attorney Raúl Torrez said at a news conference on Saturday. “Every member of this community must stand up.”
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Twitter on Saturday that the killings were “deeply angry and completely unbearable” and that she was sending more state police officers to assist the Albuquerque Police Department and the FBI. She also expressed her solidarity with the Muslim community in the state.
“We’re behind you,” she said.
Officials at the Islamic Center of New Mexico, still reeling from Friday night’s funeral for Hussain and Hussein, said they were shocked to hear of another death the next morning, and that Muslims in the city fear for their lives. safety.
“We are incredibly sick of the idea that someone has so much hatred for innocent people,” said Ahmad Assed, the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “We are afraid for our families, we are afraid for our children. And we’re incredibly confused as to why this is happening.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the largest nonprofit Muslim civil rights group in the country, said Friday it would offer a $10,000 reward to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible. for the murders.
“We’ve really never seen anything like it where there are multiple similar murders that seem really related,” said Ibrahim Hooper, the council’s national communications director.
Nihad Awad, the council’s national executive director, said in an interview that the tragedies affected not only the Muslim community, but all Americans. “We must stand united against hatred and violence, regardless of the race, creed or background of the victims or the perpetrators,” he said. “We urge anyone with information about these crimes to come forward by contacting the police.”