NEW YORK — Following Saturday afternoon’s fatal shooting of a Queens imam and his assistant, the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association for Conservative/Masorti rabbis, released the following statement by Rabbi Philip Scheim, RA president:
The Rabbinical Assembly expresses shock and grief at the murder of Imam Maulama Akonjee and his associate, Thara Uddin, as they walked home from prayers at their mosque in Ozone Park, Queens, and calls for solidarity with New York’s Muslim community in the wake of this tragic violence.
The two men were dressed in traditional religious garb and leaving a mosque, making it clear that they were Muslim and increasing the likelihood that they were murdered in an anti-Muslim hate crime. The deaths of these two religious leaders resonate particularly with our community, which throughout the world on Sunday observed Tisha b’Av, a solemn commemoration of tragedies linked to sinat chinam, baseless hatred.
As our nation witnesses increased attacks, both in word and deed, against minorities, it is imperative that we decry baseless hatred, particularly when those on the world stage speak ill of peaceful immigrants coming from a variety of backgrounds and religions.
We extend our sympathies and prayers to the families and congregants of Imam Maulama Akonjee and his associate, Thara Uddin. May their memories be a blessing, and may God grant peace to their souls.