Murdered Imam Mourned by Hundreds
The funeral of murder victims Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant Thara Uddin, 64, was attended by hundreds of mourners after Saturday prayers at the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Ozone Park, Queens. The murders shocked the neighborhood’s Bangladeshi community, who gathered in a parking lot for the service, not far from where the cleric and his assistant were killed.
The suspect in the murders is said to be a 36-year-old man of Hispanic descent from Brooklyn. His name was not yet released.
“We believe because of the evidence we have acquired thus far that … this is the individual,” New York City Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.
Speakers at the funeral begged the authorities to investigate whether this was a hate crime, and requested that the level of police protection be heightened in the neighborhood, in lieu of the killings.
“We want justice,” Badrul Kahn, founder of the Al-Furqan mosque and its main adviser, shouted to the crowd during the opening speech of the funeral. “We want justice,” said the mourners in response, a majority dressed in Islamic garb.