Police in Albuquerque have tracked down the car they imagine was concerned in a current killing of a Muslim man, and its driver has been charged as a main suspect in two of 4 deaths of Muslim males within the metropolis, authorities introduced Tuesday.
In a information convention later Tuesday, police stated that Muhammad Syed, 51, was charged with two homicides within the deaths of Aftab Hussein and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain.
Authorities stated they’re working with the district lawyer’s workplace on potential fees within the deaths of the opposite two males and that their instances had been open and lively.
According to police, Syed arrived from Afghanistan within the final a number of years and has a “few minor misdemeanors arrests including domestic violence” that had been ultimately dismissed. The police refused to elaborate on Syed’s motive.
Police additionally famous that Syed’s arrest was a results of a tip from a member of the native Muslim neighborhood.
The killings — one occurred in November 2021 and three happened over the previous few weeks — put town on edge, notably after authorities introduced the deaths had been seemingly linked and informed native Muslims to remain vigilant.
All 4 victims had been Muslim immigrant males of South Asian descent who attended the identical mosque and had been fatally shot in ambush-style assaults, in accordance with police.
Hussein, a 41-year-old who moved to the U.S. from Afghanistan, was ambushed and killed in late July. Afzaal Hussain, 27, was killed on Aug. 1. Naeem Hussain, a 25-year-old from Pakistan who had attended funeral companies for each males, was fatally shot on Friday.
Last November, Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, was shot behind the pinnacle and located within the car parking zone of the halal grocery retailer and cafe he co-owned along with his brother. His case had remained unresolved.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations stated it was “disturbed by early indications that the alleged killer may have been targeting particular members of the Shia community.”
Nihad Awad, the chief director of CAIR, stated in a press release: “We hope the news that this violence has been brought to an end will provide the New Mexico Muslim community some sense of relief and security.”
“Acts of hateful, sectarian violence against followers of the Shia tradition and any other group have no place in our communities, our country or anywhere else. American Muslims are and must be united against all forms of hateful bigotry, including anti-Shia bias.”
The American Muslim Bar Association stated in a assertion, “As Muslim lawyers and legal professionals who stand for the civil rights and freedoms of all people, without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, and other identities, we stand strongly against Shiaphobia and urge other groups to do the same,”
Albuquerque has welcomed a rising neighborhood of immigrants and refugees lately, together with the Hussain brothers who arrived in 2014 and 2017, respectively, from Pakistan as worldwide college students.
Targeted Attacks In A Matter Of Weeks
On Aug. 1, Muhammed Imtiaz Hussain was home along with his brother, Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, when Afzaal Hussain stepped out to take a cellphone name round 9 p.m.
Several hours handed, and the youthful Hussain by no means returned.
The 27-year-old was fatally shot only a few blocks from their home and was the third sufferer within the string of slayings.
“The people who targeted him wanted him dead,” Imtiaz Hussain stated. “More than half of his head was gone.”
Over the previous few days, efforts to find the suspect started to move swiftly. On Sunday, the Albuquerque Police Department launched footage of a silver Volkswagen sedan and launched an on-line portal for the general public to submit photographs or movies that would assist the investigation. The Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers additionally supplied a $20,000 reward along with $10,000 reward by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The FBI’s Albuquerque workplace is assisted town’s police within the investigation.
“We know that our community is hurting, and we are heartsick and we are grieving with you,” Michelle Melendez, Albuquerque’s director of fairness and inclusion, stated at a information convention on Sunday. “We cannot denounce strongly enough what appears to be the targeting of people because of their race and religion.”
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) pledged that the perpetrator could be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the regulation.
Over the weekend, President Joe Biden stated in a tweet that his administration was awaiting a full investigation. “These hateful attacks have no place in America,” he stated. The FBI has since joined the native police investigation.
“I feel that everyone is talking about my brother, and his shooter will be found. I have faith,” stated Imtiaz Hussain.
Disturbing Trend On The Rise
Hate crimes rose greater than 20% in 2021 and elevated an extra 4.7% within the first half of 2022, in accordance with a research launched Monday by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Anti-Muslim hate crimes particularly elevated by 45% in 12 jurisdictions in 2021 after a multiyear decline, largely because of the pandemic and considerations that crimes are being underreported.
“What we’re seeing with this radar screen is a blip that is part of a much larger problem,” stated Brian Levin, a professor of prison justice at Cal State San Bernardino and the director of the middle.
Even extra alarming than the rise in hate crimes, Levin stated, is the rise in homicides.
Imtiaz Hussain stated he’s overwhelmed by the help he has acquired from throughout the nation. He needs folks to recollect his brother by the life he lived and his service to the Albuquerque neighborhood.
“He was a very loving person. He was always with people and wanted to help everyone he met,” he stated. “He had a passion for raising his voice for those voices that aren’t heard and those who are marginalized.”
He was town planner for town of Española. Before that, he had served because the president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association on the University of New Mexico and labored on the marketing campaign for U.S. Rep. Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.).
Though some Muslims have thought-about leaving Albuquerque, Imtiaz Hussain stated he doesn’t have plans to depart New Mexico anytime quickly.
“This place where we live is the most welcoming, diverse place, I believe, in the United States. Those who have done this crime are a tiny fraction of society that do not represent New Mexico. New Mexico is a place of love, and Albuquerque is a city of diversity.”