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.