December 3, 2022

New Mexico police are investigating the deaths of four men in recent months and reports say there is a “strong possibility” that the men were targeted because they are of Muslim or South Asian origin.

The deaths occurred in quick succession

On July 26, Aftab Hussain, 41, a coffee shop worker and member of the large Afghan community in Albuquerque, was subjected to found dead of gunshot wounds on July 26, near the Madinah International District.

Two weeks later, 27-year-old Muhammad Afzal Hussain, who came to the US from Pakistan and worked as a planning director in the city of Espanola, was also found dead of gunshot wounds in Albuquerque.

Then, on Friday, Naim Hussain attended shot to death In the parking lot of an Albuquerque NGO that provides services to refugees and asylum seekers, according to the Islamic Center of New Mexico.

Mr. Hussain, who is from Afghanistan and Pakistan and has no apparent connection to Muhammad Hussain, had visited the funerals of two other dead men the day he was killed.

“Now, people are starting to panic,” said Tahir Gauba, director of public affairs for the Islamic Center of New Mexico. Albuquerque Magazine. “I mean especially after the funeral, on the same day, this thing happened again. So it’s really crazy.”

Police believe the killing may be related to the death in November of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, who was shot behind the halal market he owned with his brother.

“All of our victims have strong commonalities – their race and religion,” Albuquerque Deputy Police Chief Kyle Hartsock said this week during a press conference. Reuters.

Council on American-Islamic Relations is It is said progress A reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of those involved in the murder. Albuquerque police are offering a $15,000 reward, according to NPR.

Officials called on community members of all backgrounds to come together and find an end to the killing.

“This is something that affects all of us,” Bernalillo County Prosecutor Raul Torres said during a press conference on Saturday. “Every member of this community should stand up.”

The city’s Equity and Inclusion Office provided information about the killings in Arabic, Farsi, Dari and Urdu on Saturday and asked for community assistance in apprehending the killer or killers.

“We urge the entire interfaith community in Albuquerque and all Albuquerque residents to help law enforcement identify and apprehend the person or persons responsible,” Michelle Melendez, who directs the office, said during the briefing. “Please, please, contact any amount of information.”

Local leaders denounced the violence. Ahmed Asad, President of the Islamic Center of New Mexico. Tell New York times: “We are incredibly tired of the idea that someone has so much hatred against innocents. We are afraid for our families, we are afraid for our children. And we are incredibly confused as to why this is happening.”

New Mexico Governor Michelle Logan Grisham said Saturday on Twitter that the murders were “absolutely disturbing and intolerable” and promised “to do everything we can to support the Muslim community in Albuquerque and Greater New Mexico during this difficult time.”

“You are new Mexicans, we welcome you here, and we stand with you,” she added.

local police, as well as the FBI; New Mexico State Police; Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; The US Marshals Service are all assisting with the investigation.

“In addition to our investigations into this murder, we are allocating resources to the major Albuquerque patrol areas and neighborhoods,” APD President, Harold Medina. He said on Saturday. “We have raised overtime limits for our officers so that we can utilize many of our specialist units to help ensure a strong presence for Albuquerque officers to keep the community safe.”

According to the latest federal data, there were 55 incidents of hate crimes have been reported In 2020, up from 50 in 2019, incidents disproportionately targeted African Americans.

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