Washington, DC – On Saturday, Imam Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin were walking home from prayers at their Queens mosque when they were fatally shot from behind at point-blank range. Interfaith Alliance president Rabbi Jack Moline responded to the attack with the following statement:

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family members of both slain men, to the members of the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque and to the broader Muslim community in New York City. The execution of a clergy member and his assistant, walking home in religious garb from a house of worship, is an unthinkable crime.

“The motivation of the shooter is not yet known, but Akonjee and Uddin clearly appear to have been targeted for their leadership role in the Muslim community in Ozone Park, Queens. That makes the shooting an attack on the entire community.

“We stand united with New York’s Muslim community against bigotry and violence. Religious freedom demands that Americans of all faiths, or no faith, be able to freely and safely practice their beliefs.”

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.