Volunteer Muslim Clinic Works to Help Latino and Latina Neighbors.

Originally published on
Muhammad Safwatullah
Manager, Al-Shifa health clinic

MUSCOY, Calif. ― When you drive up to the Al-Shifa Free Health Clinic, there will only be a few cars outside. But when you walk in, you’ll see a full waiting room. Why? Because many of our clients literally walk in.

Open since 2000, our clinic is on the outskirts of the city of San Bernardino, in a largely Latino area called Muscoy. Nearly a third of all residents live below the poverty line, and many of them do not have cars or access to other transportation. Without a clinic like ours close by, checkups would not happen and chronic conditions like diabetes, obesity and heart disease would be left untreated.

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Police: Suspects used anti-Muslim slurs in attack on man

Posted 12:00 PM, October 9, 2016,
by Talia Tirella, Updated at 12:01pm, October 9, 2016
Originally posted on

FORDHAM MANOR, the Bronx — Police are searching for three individuals connected to an assault that occurred in the Bronx in September and involved anti-Muslim slurs.

On Sept. 15 right before midnight, the 25-year-old victim and his mother were walking and crossing the street in front of 2481 Creston Avenue in the Fordham Manor section of the Bronx.

As they crossed the street, a black Toyota Camry with two men inside passed by. One of the men allegedly shouted anti-Muslim slurs at the victim and his mother, police said.

The victim went to confront the passenger and it was then that the driver and the passenger inside the car both allegedly punched the victim in the face, according to police.

The two men then fled in an unknown direction.

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NY State Senator Seeks Probe of Agency's Mosque Approval

Orriginally Published in Queens Chronicle
Posted: Thursday, October 6, 2016 10:30 am
by Ryan Brady, Associate Editor

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) again has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney of the Southern District Preet Bharara to review the Board of Standards and Appeals for possible improper conduct because its chairwoman appeared at the opening for a mosque that the agency approved . . .

According to Council on American Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, opposition to mosque construction is often Islamophobic, although opponents of the Flushing mosque proposal have said that they are not against it because of the religion.

“We always hear that the opposition has nothing to do with it being a mosque or a school or a Muslim cemetery until you scratch the surface and you almost always find a level of anti-Muslim bias,” Hooper said.

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Hate Crime Charges Filed over anti-Muslim Graffitti

Originally appeared in IOhud
Matt Spillane ,
9:13 a.m. EDT October 6, 2016

Vincent Casella said too many terrorists are being allowed into the country, police said.

MOUNT VERNON - A city man has been charged with a hate crime for creating anti-Islam graffiti, police said.

Vincent Casella, 61, was arrested on Sept. 30 for defacing a light pole at the corner of Gramatan Avenue and West Grand Street in Fleetwood, Mount Vernon police said.

A police officer and another witness saw Casella use a blue marker to write the phrase "F#@$ ISLAM" on the pole, police said. Police stopped him and arrested him.

Casella told officers that he was unhappy with the way the country was headed, and that too many terrorists were being allowed in, police said.

Gold Star dad Khizr Khan calls for voters to support American values

Niraj Warikoo,
Detroit Free Press

In interview with Free Press, Khizr Khan praises Dearborn as a model city of pluralism that others should follow

Visiting Dearborn this week to speak to Arab Americans, Khizr Khan, the Gold Star father who slammed Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention, said voters should choose American values when deciding this November.

Khan and his wife, Ghazala Khan —  whose son Capt. Humayun Khan was killed while serving with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004  — received an award Thursday night from the Arab American Civil Rights League, which held its annual banquet in Dearborn.

A Muslim immigrant from Pakistan, Khan drew national attention for his speech in July at the convention in which he blasted Trump for attacking Muslim Americans and other minorities. Pulling a copy of the U.S. Constitution from his pocket, Khan sought to portray the Republican presidential nominee as someone who didn't understand American laws and values...

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To Be Muslim On Campus

In early September, New York witnessed a series of Islamophobic attacks — mostly against women. In Brooklyn, two Muslim mothers were pushing their children in strollers when they were attacked by a woman telling them to “get the **** out of America ****.” Days later, a man set fire to a Scottish Muslim tourist’s clothes while she was shopping on Fifth Avenue.

For some Muslim students on campus, the fear is, especially for those who are more visibly affiliated with the religion by wearing garments.
“Whenever there was an attack, I’d be afraid that if I go downtown, I may be a victim of a hate crime,” said Muslim student Raaheela Yusuf, FCRH ’20, who wears a hijab, in an interview with The Fordham Ram. “My mother would always tell me to be careful and to be aware of my surroundings.” She remembers a friend who began wearing a hijab in high school, and the extra measures her friend went to keep herself safe. “She has been carrying around pepper spray with her everywhere she goes,” Yusuf said.

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NYC Mayor's Office launched first ever citywide campaign to halt anti-Muslim violence

By Sarah Harvard
September 26, 2016

Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked in 2016 — most notably during the start of the presidential election cycle — and New York City officials hope to combat their rise through a series of public service announcements and educational workshops.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio's Commission on Human Rights launched an expansive social media campaign aimed at stemming these instances of Islamophobia. The campaign consists of five banner ads featuring Muslim New Yorkers. 

The text embedded in the ads reads, "I am Muslim. I am NYC." Cumulatively, they seek to remind New Yorkers that religious-based harassment and discrimination is illegal in the city.

"These bold new ads affirm every Muslim New Yorker's right to live safely and free from discrimination," Carmelyn P. Malalis, chair and commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights, said in an email. "They also show that Muslims are hardworking New Yorkers just like you and me. They are our police, our teachers, our small business owners and our neighbors and they deserve the same respect as everyone else." . . .

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Man Sought for Questioning in Killing of NYPD Officer's Aunt, Police Say

By Aidan Gardiner | September 2, 2016 8:56am

QUEENS — Investigators released video Thursday of a man they want to talk to in connection with the murder of an NYPD officer's aunt in Jamaica Hills, police said.

The man, who can be seen in black and white surveillance footage, was walking near 160-12 Normal Road where Nazma Khanam, a 60-year-old former language teacher from Bangladesh, was fatally stabbed in the torso about 9:15 p.m., NYPD officials said.\

The man in the video has not been described as a suspect, but merely a person of interest who investigators want to question.

Khanam, who was the aunt of a police officer in the NYPD's Transit District Two, was returning home with her husband, who was lagging behind about a block because of his ailing health, when a man stabbed her, police said.

"Somebody killed me!" her 75-year-old husband heard her shout, family said.

He found Khanam lying dying in the street, covered in blood, family said.

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Husband of fatally stabbed woman in Queens laments at funeral: 'I cannot take care of the kids without her'

BY Chelsia Rose Marcius Graham Rayman Rich Schapiro
Updated: Friday, September 2, 2016, 5:19 PM

A Queens man broke down sobbing at a funeral for his slain wife, telling more than 2,000 mourners on Friday that he doesn’t know how he’ll carry on in her absence.

“She’s innocent. She came from work,” a weeping Shamsul Alam Khan, 75, said in Bengali of his slain wife, Nazma Khanam, 60.

“What can I do? I have three kids now. I cannot take care of the kids without her."

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NYPD Hate Crimes Unit Investigates Deadly Stabbing of Queens Woman

For NY 1 News, On Sep 1st 2016, Read Original

The NYPD Hate Crimes Unit is investigating as police search for the person who stabbed the aunt of an NYPD officer on a Queens street Wednesday night.

Investigators say it happened shortly after 9 p.m. outside 160-12 Normal Road in Jamaica.

Police say the victim, Nazma Khanam, 60, was found stabbed in the torso about two blocks from her home.

She was transported to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

"I'm like so scared you have no idea. Nothing ever happens here, in like the area, this is my first time hearing about it, like, who would've known. I'm like terrified," said one neighbor.

Police say detectives in the 107th precinct are working under the assumption Khanam's death stemmed from a robbery but that the exact motive remains unclear.

Khanam's family says she was an observant Muslim wearing a traditional head covering and walking her normal route at the time of the attack.

In a tweet, the NYPD Muslim Officers Society confirmed Khanam was the aunt of an officer assigned to the department's transit unit.

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit

CAIR-NY Calls On NYPD To Investigate Possible Bias Motive In Fatal Stabbing Of Mrs. Nazma Khanom

By Janelle Burell, For CBS New York, On Sep 1st 2016, Read Original

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on police to investigate a possible bias motive in the fatal stabbing of a Muslim woman in Queens who was the aunt of an NYPD officer.

It happened around 9:15 p.m. Wednesday on Normal Road.

Nazma Khanam, 60, was walking home with her husband, who was trailing behind her by about a block, when police said someone stabbed her in the chest, 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported.

She was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The mother of three is a native of Bangladesh. She is also the aunt of an NYPD officer, according to the NYPD Muslim Officer Society. The group tweeted out their condolences overnight, saying it was a member of their organization who lost a loved one.

“She is a very quiet, gentle lady, amazing lady and she’s a teacher,” a family friend told Schuck. “So we’re hoping the police will find out what is the reason and all these things and we’re praying for her soul.”

CAIR-NY said Khanam was wearing Islamic attire at the time of the stabbing.

“Because of the recent killings of Muslims in Queens, and because of the growing number of anti-Muslim incidents nationwide resulting from the increasing Islamophobia in American society, we urge the NYPD to investigate a possible bias motive for this murder,” CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said in a statement.

Last month, a man was charged in connection with shooting deaths of a Queens imam and his associate after they left a mosque in Ozone Park. Members of the mosque said the shooting was a hate crime, but investigators said the alleged motive is not clear.

In Wednesday’s case, there is nothing yet to indicate Khanam was targeted because of race or religion. Police are investigating the incident as a robbery attempt, though nothing was taken.

“A 60-year-old woman, I don’t think she would have an enemy,” one nearby resident told CBS2’s Janelle Burrell. “I think this is another hate crime or something wrong in the city.”

Other residents said they were frightened by the attack.

“It makes me want to change my routine,” one neighbor said. “It’s just numbing — it’s hard to find words.”

The investigation is ongoing.

NYPD Hate Crimes Unit Investigates Deadly Stabbing of Queens Woman

By Michael Herzenberg
Updated Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 04:28 PM CDT
Originally Published on

Detectives from the NYPD's Hate Crimes Unit are among those investigating the stabbing death of a Muslim woman in Queens. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Nazma Khanam's three adult children and longtime husband are mourning.

"She's a very nice lady. She's a Muslim. She's a retired school teacher back home in Bangladesh. And she's very polite," said Syed Ahmed, a friend of the family.

Ahmed says Khanam was heading home with her husband from the store they own on Jamaica Avenuewhen she was stabbed in the chest as her husband walked just ahead of her.

"He was a little far, but when he went there, he found and called 911," Ahmed said.

A young woman came out of her home to find Khanam wounded and unconscious.

"We went outside and she was just laying there. First, it looked like she fainted, but there was blood everywhere after they took off her clothes . . .

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Bangladeshi Muslim community stunned by stabbing

By Patrick Donachie

A neighbor was arrested and charged this weekend in the Aug. 31 murder of a 60-year-old Muslim woman in Jamaica Hills, police said. The man, who admitted to fatally stabbing her, lived half a block from where the killing occurred, according to police.

The arrest came as religious and community leaders urged the authorities to consider the possibility that the attack was a hate crime, even though police were saying the suspect’s motive was robbery.

“We welcome the fact that a person has been arrested so quickly and are waiting to see what develops through the court process,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations. “We’re being told this was a robbery and that will need to be determined based on the facts presented at the trial.”

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Man Accused of Killing Imam Pleads Not Guilty

The man accused of fatally shooting a Queens imam and his friend pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder Thursday as his defense attorney said the imam may have been killed because he wasn't liked and suggested police may have planted evidence — a claim the New York Police Department (NYPD) denied.

Oscar Morel, 36, was arraigned in Queens Supreme Court on a five-count indictment handed up by a grand jury last week. The indictment includes one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon in the deaths of Imam Maulana Akonjee and his friend, Thara Uddin.

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Albany sheriff pulls TSA airport check-point proposal

By Amanda Fries, For Times Union, On Aug 29th 2016, Read Original

Albany, New York ]

A contentious local law proposal that would have made it a crime for passengers to refuse screening at Albany International Airport has been taken off the table.

Sheriff Craig Apple said he requested Local Law E be withdrawn during theAlbany County Legislature's Public Safety Committee meeting on Aug. 24 because of the lack of documentation needed to move the proposal for the Colonie airport forward and the mounting opposition against it.

Several groups — from Muslim advocacy organizations to the New York Civil Liberties Union — came out against the law, which was proposed in April with bipartisan support. Opponents say the law could lead to confusion, unwarranted arrests and racial and religious profiling.

"After conferring with members of the legislature, we figured the people have spoken, they've indicated what they want to do, so let's pull it," Apple said.

The law aimed to cover a weak spot in the current system that allows passengers to walk away without boarding their flights if security staff flags them for additional scrutiny, according to Apple, who has said his deputies don't have legal grounds to question such a person.

The Transportation Security Administration has no police power of its own and currently can only levy a fine.

As the proposed law was written, passengers could be in violation of the law should they leave the line even prior to going through metal detectors and having luggage scanned. Those people could have been further charged with a misdemeanor.

Apple has said the TSA approached the sheriff's office with the proposal, shortly after TSA Administrator Peter Neffengertold Congress and travelers to expect more visible airport security in the wake of bombings at an airport and train station in Brussels, Belgium, including more random searches even after passengers have cleared security checkpoints.

On Monday a TSA representative in Albany, when asked about the withdrawl of the proposal by the legislature, would say only that it was the county's decision.

Legislature Majority Leader Frank Commisso, a Democrat, was a sponsor of the proposal.

He said pulling the proposal was the right thing to do.

"This situation was rather unique in the way it came about, and I feel the sheriff felt very strongly in walking away from it," Commisso said. "I have no problem with his decision."

Legislator Frank Mauriello, R-Colonie, said he was in favor of the measure, but thought it would've been helpful if TSA representatives had come out to explain it further.

"We knew they were the ones that came to the sheriff and asked to do this," Mauriello said. "What I found really confusing, once they had our support and ear, they decided not to come."

On Being a Muslim Woman in the Workplace

For Daily Worth, On Aug 26th 2016, Read Original

Anti-Muslim bias has been increasingly a part of the American cultural landscape, and the last year has been especially horrifying: A New York Times article titled “American Muslims Are Under Attack” showed a disturbing pattern of vandalism, threats, and hate crimes in the months since the San Bernardino attack in December 2015. According to a 2015 Gallup report, 43 percent of Americans have some degree of prejudice toward Muslims, and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s rhetoric after last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris and this month’sattack in Orlando gave a national platform to hatred.

Anti-Muslim bias is everywhere, including the workplace. Muslim Association of Virginia president Ehsan Islam speculates that workplace prejudice likely disproportionately affects Muslim women, who may wear a hijab or other head covering.

We spoke to five American Muslim women about their experiences working in different industries and regions of the country. Their stories range from overt discrimination to more subtle prejudice, and all five asked that their names be changed for fear of retaliation from their employers and coworkers. Here’s what they had to say.

Lian, Registered Nurse, New Jersey
As the only Muslim in my workplace, there have been moments when my role is primarily as an educator of all things Muslim. Some have been kind enough to ask me directly, while others make negative comments behind my back. Here are some examples:

I use my break times to pray in the chapel downstairs. On one such occasion, I announced I was leaving and went per my usual routine. Upon coming back to my desk, a coworker was visibly upset and informed me that when I left another coworker stated, “Allah is not God.” Since then, I have always been quiet about my faith.
Whenever I take a moment to step away and offer morning prayers, a coworker immediately starts singing Christian songs as soon as I re-enter the room.
The father of a patient requested I not take care of his infant and not be in the room she [shared] with other patients. The management conceded to his requests.
Post-9/11, a coworker openly stated that she does not wish to acknowledge Ramadan for me due to the attacks.
A coworker asked me publicly if President Obama was a Muslim.

People are both afraid and misinformed. I believe the current election cycle has allowed the content of fear to surface in a manner that has manifested into an opportunity to vocalize thoughts that for the most part have always been considered offensive. I am often informed at work that I am the only Muslim my coworkers have ever met.

My management, in general, has been incredibly supportive and welcoming to the diversity I bring to their staff. However, they tend to shy away from comments my coworkers have said about Muslims post-9/11, and have asked me to remain quiet on the matter. This double message makes it difficult for me to feel that Islamophobia is a rarity, especially since it is constantly part of the national dialogue.

Sara, Engineer, Illinois
I can’t say with 100 percent certainty that I have experienced Islamophobia at work. As a woman in a male-dominated industry (engineering), I have certainly experienced sexism — it was blatant and easy to identify. I was passed over for a career-building opportunity and promotions, and my peers refused to make eye contact or speak directly to me in meetings. I even had one instance where a subordinate refused to take direction from me but had no problem doing the task when I found a white male to tell him.

While I assumed this was just sexism, the truth of the matter is, it could have also been racism or Islamophobia. As a female minority who wears the hijab, you never know why you are treated differently. You are left to question why someone in a restaurant gives you dirty looks but no one else at your table, or why customer service reps treat you differently than those before or after you.

I would say Islamophobia is a huge problem in America and the current political climate only makes things worse. The longer fearmongers have the front page of every newspaper, the less safe I feel walking down the street in my neighborhood.

Fatima, Dental Office Manager, New York
I work at a dental practice and have occasionally experienced Islamophobia with new patients. Islamophobia is usually most prevalent at work right after a terror attack. For example, last year after the San Bernardino terror attack, a new patient at the office declined to be treated by a Muslim.

I have been working at this practice for the past 12 years. I think once your coworkers and employer get to know you as a person, they can look past their fears and assumptions and tear down stereotypes. Most of our patients know me very well and so do most of my coworkers. However, I am pretty sure if I were to start working at a new clinic, it would be initially difficult for me and I’d face prejudice based on the stereotyping in the media.

Personally, I believe that Islamophobia is more prevalent in public spaces, social media, malls, grocery stores, cafes, and parking lots [than in my workplace]. People don’t have to be accountable for their actions [there], and as Muslims we don’t get the opportunity to address their fears.

Samaira, Teacher, Wisconsin
The one time I experienced Islamophobia in the workplace came from a place I would not have expected. I am a teacher, and I sat down with one of my second-grade students who was having behavior difficulties. I was trying to form a better relationship with him. I allowed the conversation to flow freely when he asked me, “Are you ISIS? Are your friends ISIS?” These questions caught me off guard. It was not a conversation I was trained to have in my years of teacher preparation.

I realized the scarf I wear on my head sends a clear message to everyone that I am Muslim and for those who are uneducated about Islam, it can even be scary. I assured the young boy that I was not ISIS and that all of my Muslim friends were lovely and peaceful. Of course, I hold nothing against the boy who clearly did not know about true Islam. We hugged each other at the end of the interaction and had better conversations in the future. This incident showed me clearly that the lack of education about Islam is what truly causes Islamophobia.

Ayesha, Adjunct Professor, Illinois
Working in a large, Midwestern, public educational institution, I feel that I rarely face Islamophobia at my workplace. The college displays diversity based on the faculty, staff, and student body; that helps filter discrimination to a certain extent. Based on my background as a hijabi Muslim woman, I do experience some pushback by students that test perhaps my level of credentialism or authority in the classroom environment, but that could be based on my status as a woman or a Muslim or both. However, for the most part, I would say that I do not have many experiences of Islamophobia at my workplace.

That said, Islamophobia is definitely is a problem in American workplaces. I would assume that the issue of Islamophobia would be rampant in areas with less diversity. When you have a work environment that accommodates and acknowledges different groups of people such as religion, race, or gender, there is a strong correlation between how the workplace environment recognizes and respects the various groups. For workplaces that allow issues such as Islamophobia be rampant, it does not negatively impact that environment alone — unfortunately, it spreads into families, communities, and, on a larger scale, states and nations.

Muslim US Army Chaplain Sets Out to Bridge Cultures

By Carla Babb, For Voices of America, On Aug 18th 2016, Read Original

THE PENTAGON — Inside the Pentagon's 9/11 memorial chapel, built where Islamic extremists attacked the building nearly 15 years ago, sounds of the Muslim call to prayer softly welcome passersby at around 2:00 p.m. each day.

The prayer service is led by Dawud Agbere, one of five Muslim Army chaplains or imams. Since being stationed at the Pentagon, Agbere leads afternoon prayer to give fellow Muslims a chance to connect with their creator.

Abdul Zaid, an IT contractor who works in the building, credits Agbere with "running interference" to make the prayer service available. He calls Agbere a spiritual leader who cares, consoling his fellow Pentagon employees during times of grief and occasionally taking them for cookies or ice cream in times of celebration.

"It's about the community that he has built here," Habiba Heider, another Pentagon contractor, told VOA.

Unusual path to service

Agbere will be the first to say he's not a typical U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. Born and raised in the West African nation of Ghana, Agbere won the U.S. Diversity Visa lottery, which randomly selects immigrants from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

"When you are growing up in Ghana — in Africa, not just in Ghana — America is the land of prosperity," he said.

He eagerly accepted the visa and got a job teaching high school students in New Jersey, but after months with the unruly students, he yearned for a job with more discipline and order.

"So when I saw the Navy was hiring people, I said, ‘That's where I belong,'" Agbere said.

He went to boot camp with the Navy until he discovered he could not become an officer without U.S. citizenship. Rather than make him wait, his superiors allowed him to switch to the Army, which did not have the same restriction.

Bridging the gaps

His Army career has taken him to war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq. As a fluent Arabic speaker and oftentimes the only Muslim in his unit, Agbere says he works to "bridge the gap" between cultures. He said many in the allied armies he worked with "never fathomed" they'd see a Muslim in the U.S. Army.

"Then they see one; they are shocked," he said.

Only a small fraction — less than 3,600 — of the U.S. Army active duty and reservists self-identify as Muslim. Despite Agbere's ever-present optimism, his minority status has not always been a positive experience. When he deployed to Iraq, for example, one of Agbere's military leaders was extremely apprehensive of him even before they met.

"He had his own misconception about who that Muslim guy is going to be," Agbere said, "but today, he's one of my best friends."

Adding Agbere's time in the Army and the Navy, he has served in the U.S. military for nearly two decades. He says he doesn't judge those who have sought to vilify his faith during this turbulent political time, choosing instead to point out the "beauty" of American diversity.

"Definitely some of these things are based on ignorance, and I always see this as an opportunity to teach people," he said.

"I want to be able to define my story. I don't want my story to define me."

Oscar Morel is Officially Charged with First-Degree Murder of Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin

By Rocco Parascandola, Joseph Stepasky and Sephan Rex Brown, For NY Daily News, On Aug 16th 2016, Read Original

The lone gunman busted for the cold-blooded execution of a revered Queens imam and his friend faces life in prison without parole if convicted in the double homicide.

Oscar Morel was officially charged with first-degree murder Tuesday in theweekend killings of mosque leader Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin as they walked side by side on a Queens street.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown acknowledged the motive behind the shootings remained unclear. Hate crime charges remain a possibility against Morel, 35, of Brooklyn.

The first-degree murder charge was announced after police sources said Morel stashed the murder weapon in a crudely concocted hole in the wall of his basement apartment.


The .38-caliber Taurus revolver police say Oscar Morel used to kill a Queens imam and his friend. (NYPD)

He also faces two counts of second-degree murder, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

The not-so-secret hiding place created for the black .38-caliber Taurus revolver was quickly found by cops Monday evening, sources said.

Morel had cut out a piece of a wall, hid the gun inside the hole and then used sheetrock screws to re-install the piece, sources said.

When cops appeared at the apartment, the cuts in the wall were obvious, sources said.

Detectives were trying to determine if the revolver was linked to any other crimes. The gun is unlicensed, so police are still trying to determine how Morel got the weapon, sources said.

He worked as a porter at the New School since November 2013, the school said.

"While we are unable to comment on his arrest, we are cooperating fully with the authorities in this matter," the New School said in a statement.

Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 65, were both shot in the back of the head by a gunman who opened fire without saying a word, police said.

“The defendant is accused of the murder of a highly respected and beloved religious leader and his friend as they walked home from an afternoon prayer service,” said Brown.

“Their deaths are a devastating loss to their families and the community that they served as men of peace.”

Cops continued to scour Morel’s home for any evidence that would lead them to a motive, and are examining his phone, sources said.

Sources said police had yet to find evidence he was hired to commit the murders, but it remained an avenue of investigation.

Police also found clothes in Morel’s basement apartment that matched the outfit worn by the shooter and captured on security video, authorities said.

The deadly ambush was carried out with ruthless efficiency — but police say Morel’s wild behavior after the murders led to his arrest.

After Morel blasted the victims from behind in Ozone Park at 1:50 p.m., he fled in a black Chevy TrailBlazer, police said.

Ten minutes later, he was embroiled in a confrontation with a cyclist at Pine St. and Pitkin Ave., smashing his ride into the biker, cops said.

That led authorities to Morel’s East New York home. When approached by police Sunday evening, Morel rammed his vehicle into a detective’s car in a failed attempt to flee, police said.

Morel, who has one prior arrest for misdemeanor pot possession, admitted to being in Ozone Park at the time of the slayings, but demanded a lawyer when cops quizzed him further about the murders, a police source said.

He had no known ties to Ozone Park or the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque, where Akonjee preached.

Muslim veterans lead NYC parade of immigrants celebrating their ‘hyphen’

By Omar Etman, For PBS News Hour, On Aug 16th 2016, Read Original

New Yorkers from more than 80 countries marched through downtown Brooklyn in solidarity with Muslim-American veterans on Sunday in a show of unity many participants aimed to counter recent waves of Islamophobic and anti-immigrant sentiment spurred by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The celebration of the third annual International Day of Friendship was part of Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams’ “Embrace Your Hyphen” campaign, which encourages residents to celebrate all aspects of their identity.

The event came the week after Trump drew criticism for his comments to the parents of a Muslim army captain killed in Iraq in 2004.

“We must out-Trump Trump,” Adams said, to big cheers.

[The flag of Libya in the row of 195 flags represented at the 3rd annual International Day of Friendship celebration in Brooklyn, NY, on August 7, 2016. Photo by Omar Etman/PBS NewsHour Weekend]

The flag of Libya appears in the row of 195 flags represented at the 3rd annual International Day of Friendship celebration in Brooklyn, NY, on Aug. 7, 2016. Photo by Omar Etman/PBS NewsHour Weekend

In introducing three Muslim-American veterans, Adams said: “This is not the land of cowards. We do not turn against each other. We embrace each other. And we do not allow people to use religion to harm those who righteously worship in peace.”

[Krystal Guzman and her grandmother Angela Filomena representing Puerto Rico at the 3rd annual International Day of Friendship celebration in Brooklyn, NY on August 7, 2016. Photo by Omar Etman/PBS NewsHour Weekend]

Krystal Guzman and her grandmother Angela Filomena represent Puerto Rico at the 3rd annual International Day of Friendship celebration in Brooklyn, NY, on Aug. 7, 2016. Photo by Omar Etman/PBS NewsHour Weekend

During the march, Jessica Filomeno, 38, representing Puerto Rico, held the flag of Norway. “That’s what I love about this parade: you can represent anybody,” she said.

Filomeno’s mother and daughter, who was wearing a traditional Puerto Rican dress, had also joined in the festivities. Filomena has attended the International Day of Friendship each year.

In 2014, the parade traveled only a few blocks, and not as many countries were represented, she said. This year, the flags of 195 countries were on display.

[Boys do the moko jumbie, a stilt walking dance native to Trinidad and Tobago, at the 3rd annual International Day of Friendship celebration in Brooklyn, NY on August 7, 2016. Photo by Omar Etman/PBS NewsHour Weekend]

Boys do the moko jumbie, a stilt walking dance native to Trinidad and Tobago, at the 3rd annual International Day of Friendship celebration in Brooklyn, NY, on Aug. 7, 2016. Photo by Omar Etman/PBS NewsHour Weekend

Felina Backer, a volunteer from Haiti who also sang the national anthem, said she was happy to see immigrants loudly celebrating their hyphenated identities.

“People are here saying, ‘I’m an immigrant and I matter.'” she said.

[Byambakhuu Darinchuluun (L) and members from the delegation from Mongolia enjoy the festivities]

Byambakhuu Darinchuluun, left, and people representing Mongolia enjoyed the festivities. Photo by Omar Etman/NewsHour Weekend

Byambakhuu Darinchuluun, representing Mongolia alongside 25 others from the Mongol Heritage Foundation, appeared to revel in the celebratory air.

When asked about anti-immigrant comments made by Trump, he shrugged it off, gesturing to the diverse crowd around him.

See more photos from the parade below.

Man Yells Allegedly 'F**** Indians' During Vicious New York Assault

By Christopher Mathias, For Huffington Post, On Aug 16th 2016, Read Original

QUEENS, N.Y. ― A Bangladeshi-American man called on prosecutors Monday to bring hate crime charges against a man he says viciously attacked him while screaming, “Fuck Indians!” 

Gazi Rahman, 46, said he was talking on the phone outside a grocery store on Hillside Avenue near Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, on May 7 when Christopher Porr, 39, who he did not know, asked for money. 

“I said, ‘I’m sorry I don’t have any money,’ and then he punched me and said, ‘Fuck Indians,’” Rahman recalled at a news conference outside Queens Criminal Court. 

Rahman, a U.S. citizen, said he was treated at a hospital for a concussion, a broken nose, and lacerations to his face. A photo shows he lost a significant amount of blood: 

When police arrived, they didn’t just arrest Porr. They arrested Rahman, too, assuming that the men had simply gotten into a fight, Rahman said. 

Glen Rozado, who said he witnessed the assault, said he tried to explain to officers that Porr had screamed an anti-Indian slur before attacking Rahman. 

“I just told them what happened,” Rozado said. “But they weren’t that interested in listening to us.” 

Rozado said Porr at first attempted to flee, but when cops arrived, he collapsed to the ground and pretended to be hurt. 

The NYPD’s own camera captured video of the attack. The footage, which Ali Najmi, Rahman’s lawyer, published Monday on Twitter, corroborates Rahman’s and Rozado’s version of events and clearly shows Porr is the “unprovoked aggressor,” the lawyer said. 

“The video shows Mr. Rahman being a law-abiding citizen, doing nothing wrong, and all of the sudden being attacked by a large man later identified as Christopher Porr,” Najmi said.  

“Mr. Rahman should not have been arrested,” Najmi added.

The footage appears to show Porr attacking Rahman. Rahman attempts to defend himself with a series of kicks, but Porr delivers a powerful punch, knocking Rahman to the pavement. 

Rahman said police accused him of being drunk, which he said was not only untrue, but offensive. Rahman said he is an observant Muslim, which forbids him from drinking.

A NYPD spokesperson referred questions to the Queens District Attorney’s office. 

Both Rahman and Porr were charged with assault, court records show. Najmi said the DA’s office told him they will drop the charge against Rahman. 

Now, Najmi said, prosecutors should charge Porr with a hate crime and send him to prison. 

“In an era of racial incitement that we live in, and the political environment we are unfortunately living through, we are coming together as a community to say we will not tolerate hate crimes in the county of Queens,” Najmi said. “We are calling on the Queens district attorney to take this very seriously.” 

“We are reviewing the allegations,” a spokeswoman for Queens DA Richard Brown told The Huffington Post.

Najmi said Porr’s social media posts show that he “is an avid supporter of Donald Trump, show that he is anti-immigrant, show that he is anti-Muslim.”

Porr appeared to share a Facebook post from the Donald Trump for President Facebook page. Trump has called for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. Porr also shared an image with a caption reading, “As long as there’s a homeless child in America, we have no room for Muslim refugees.” 

Porr’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a request for comment. Two phone numbers listed for Porr were no longer in service. 


The alleged assault comes amid a surge in crimes against American Muslims. In April, a man ran into a mosque in Queens yelling anti-Muslim slurs and started to punch and kick congregants there. And in June, a Muslim man was badly beaten outside a mosque in Queens.

The number of hate crimes targeting Muslims skyrocketed in the final month of 2015, amid the heightened anti-Muslim political speech of Trump and others.

A report released this year by the Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University found more acts of anti-Muslim violence and vandalism in 2015 than in any year since the Sept. 11 attacks. The report said “at least three separate incidents of violence [against Muslims] involved perpetrators who were public supporters of presidential candidate Donald Trump.” 

The Huffington Post continues to document this wave of anti-Muslim terror with its Islamophobia tracker

Rahman immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh 18 years ago. He works as an an exterminator and is married with two daughters. Since the attack, he said he’s been living in fear.

“When I walk, I think somebody is coming from behind me, to attack me,” he said.

“I want justice,” he said in a statement. “I want him to be punished for this hateful act. Nobody should go through what I have been through.”