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Muslim Advocacy Group Offers Reward in Shooting of NYC Imam

  • Chris Hannas

FILE - New York City police secure the scene where two men were shot as they left prayers at a mosque.

FILE - New York City police secure the scene where two men were shot as they left prayers at a mosque.

A Muslim advocacy group is offering a $10,000 reward to help solve the killings of a Muslim cleric and an associate in New York.

The 55-year-old Imam Maulana Akonjee and 64-year-old Thara Uddin were shot at close range on a city street as they left afternoon prayers Saturday.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said it would make a formal announcement Monday about the reward.

"We hope the offer of a reward will lead to the arrest and conviction of the individual who perpetrated this heinous crime," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "Once an arrest is made, we expect that the motive of the shooter can be determined."

Police have released a sketch of the gunman showing a dark-haired, bearded man wearing glasses. They did not give any information about a possible motive.

Activists near the Al-Furqan Jame mosque in the Ozone Park section of Queens called it a hate crime.

"Please, read my lips," said Kobir Chowdhury, who heads the nearby Al-Aman mosque in Brooklyn. "This is a hate crime, no matter which way you look at it."

Members of the Bangladeshi community served by the mosque said they want the shooting treated as a hate crime. About 100 protesters gathered Saturday at the scene of the shooting, chanting, "We want justice!"

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