Washington, DC – On Saturday, Imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin were walking home from prayers at their Queens mosque when they were fatally shot from behind at point-blank range. Interfaith Alliance president Rabbi Jack Moline responded to the attack with the following statement:

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family members of both slain men, to the members of the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque and to the broader Muslim community in New York City. The execution of a clergy member and his assistant, walking home in religious garb from a house of worship, is an unthinkable crime.

“The motivation of the shooter is not yet known, but Akonjee and Uddin clearly appear to have been targeted for their leadership role in the Muslim community in Ozone Park, Queens. That makes the shooting an attack on the entire community.

“We stand united with New York’s Muslim community against bigotry and violence. Religious freedom demands that Americans of all faiths, or no faith, be able to freely and safely practice their beliefs.”

Interfaith Alliance is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.