Muslims in New York City are blaming Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for the shooting deaths of an imam and his assistant. The religious leaders were shot in the back of the head as they casually walked home wearing traditional Islamic dress. While the motive for the killings has yet to be declared numerous members of the Muslim community in Queens believe the murders were the result of hate crimes.
The victims, Malma Akonjee, 55, was the mosque leader and a father of seven children. His assistant was Thura Uddin, 65, who survived the initial attack but died at the hospital.
A local Muslim leader named Kobi Chowdhury, who was a friend of Akonjee, said, “Read my lips. This is a hate crime. We are peace loving.”
A resident echoed Chowdhury’s sentiments. Khairul Islamd, in a comment to New York Daily News, said, “We blame Donald Trump for this. Trump and his drama has created Islamophobia.”
However the New York Police Department has said it is too early to know if the attack was a hate crime. Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner said, “There’s nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith.”
It is not much of a stretch to suggest Donald Trump’s vile rhetoric was at least partly responsible for the killings, if they were hate crimes. He has spent much of his time in political life fanning the flames of anti-Muslim hated in America, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.
Watch the comments about Trump below: