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Hundreds at New York mosque mourn woman murdered in ‘hate crime’

The Guardian — Hundreds of people gathered at a mosque in Queens, New York, on Friday to mourn a 60-year old Bangladeshi woman murdered in what they say was a hate crime. “I saw my mother’s dead body two days ago,” said Naimul Khan, son of the slain Nazma Khanam. “It was very difficult for me and my family,” an emotional Khan added.

Khan was speaking at a press conference held after a prayer service at the Jamaica Muslim Center where hundreds had gathered. Nazma Khanam’s husband and widower Shamsul Alam Khan weeped into the microphone and implored those gathered to pray for his wife.

Khanam, 60, was killed a few feet from her 75-year old husband on Wednesday night after the two were walking back from a souvenir shop. Khan has asthma so he walked behind his wife, who was a teacher in Bangladesh and moved to New York a few years ago. An unidentified man then ran up and stabbed Khanam multiple times.

“Somebody killed me!” she screamed, according to her husband. He found a four-inch blade sticking out of her body.

The New York police department currently has no leads on who the killer is or what the motive may be, but at the funeral many members of the Bangladeshi community and the wider Muslim community were convinced this was a hate crime.

bbc
Bangladeshi community in New York (BBC.com)

Khanam’s death comes just weeks after Bangladeshi imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his friend Thara Uddin, 64, were shot in the back of the head in what prosecutors described as an assassination as they walked home from midday prayers. The deaths rocked the Queens Bangladeshi community, sparking protests and calls for a hate crime investigation.

Emotions ran high at the mosque on Friday as speeches were frequently interrupted by chants of, “We want justice,” while community members held up signs saying “Love Not Hate.”

“This was not a robbery and though we do not know all the facts, the reality is this is happening too often,” said public advocate Letitia James to cheers from the crowd. This was not a robbery and though we do not know all the facts, the reality is this is happening too often.

James was one of many public officials who were in attendance, including representatives of Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, members of city council, and other state and federal officials.  The two attacks against the Bangladeshi community in Queens have left American Muslims nationwide on edge and in fear that the national anti-Muslim sentiment is translating into repeated acts of violence. click here for more www.theguardian.com

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