Police in Albuquerque are investigating the murders of three Muslim men they say may be related.
Police said Muhammed Afzal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussain, 41, two Pakistanis who had been to the same mosque, were shot within a week of each other. Mr. Hussain, who was killed on Monday, was the director of planning and land use for the city of Espanola, about 90 miles north of Albuquerque. Mr. Hussain, who was killed on July 26, was working in a local coffee shop.
Police said a third Muslim was killed shortly before midnight on Friday. The identity and age of the latest victim have not been released, although police said he was a “young man” and from South Asia.
Authorities said they believe the latest violence may also be linked to the November 2021 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, a Muslim from Afghanistan, in Albuquerque. Police said Ahmadi was killed outside a shop he and his brother ran on San Mateo Street.
The authorities did not explain why they believed the killings might be linked and did not say if there were any witnesses to the killings, but said they believed the Muslim community was being targeted.
The Albuquerque Police Department, along with the FBI and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s office, are asking city residents to provide any information that could be related to the killings.
“This is something that affects us all,” Raul Torres, the Bernalillo district attorney general, said at a press conference on Saturday. “Every member of this community should stand up.”
Governor Michelle Logan Grisham said on Twitter Saturday that the killings were “outrageous and absolutely intolerable” and that she was sending more state police officers to help the Albuquerque Police and the FBI, and also expressed solidarity with the state’s Muslim community.
She said, “We stand with you.”
Officials at the Islamic Center of New Mexico, still reeling from Friday night’s funeral for Mr. Hussain and Mr. Hussain, said they were shocked to learn of another death the next morning, and that the killings had made Muslims in the city fear it. their safety.
“We are incredibly tired of the idea that someone has so much hatred against the innocent,” said Ahmed Aseed, 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 happened.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest non-profit Muslim civil rights organization, said Friday that it will offer a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the killings.
“We’ve never seen anything like this, where there are multiple similar murders that really seem related,” said Ibrahim Huber, the council’s director of national communications.
Nihad Awad, the National Executive Director of the Council, said in an interview that The tragedies affected not only the Muslim community, but all Americans. “We must unite against hatred and violence regardless of the race, religion or background of the victims or perpetrators,” he said. “We urge anyone with information about these crimes to come forward by contacting law enforcement.”