Double Murder In Ozone Park Impacts The Whole City

A Personal Perspective

Another dastardly act took place in the southern part of Queens this month with the killing of an imam and his friend in Ozone Park.

The victims, Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55 and Thara Uddin, 64 were leaving their mosque when the unthinkable took place.

The brazen rub out took place in broad daylight following a worship service at their mosque for reasons yet unknown to the public. Not that there is ever a reason logical enough to justify such an atrocious act, but we still want to know what made this suspect act in such a soulless manner.

Thankfully, he was quickly apprehended and remains in custody. The Muslim community throughout the city is in mourning and calling for justice. Both they and law enforcement view the killing as a possible hate crime. Whatever the reasoning behind this vicious act, it was anything but love.

People with love in their hearts don’t kill other people. This double homicide was so cold and calculating that it has shaken the city to its core. No one is safe when anyone of us is treated in this manner.

Members of the Muslim community were quick to blame the murders on Donald Trump’s vile rhetoric about Muslims; but we may never know what truly motivated this person to take the lives of two people who clearly tried to live a peaceful life and did not deserve to die so violently.

My son and his friends from elementary through high school stay in touch. Most of them are Muslims from or descend from Bangladesh. He was always in one kid’s house or another and by the time I would pick him up he had already had a snack, done his homework and was either playing video games or playing basketball in the back yard with his little posse of friends.

Unlike him, they were all Muslims. But their friendships were based on the innocence of children who, left alone, don’t care about superficial differences. It is wonderful that now that they are practically grownups they continue to stay connected.

So he is telling me that friends and their families are stunned and hurting by this atrocity. They, and all New Yorkers of goodwill are upset and anxious to know one thing: why? The suspect, naturally, is making like the singer Shaggy: “It wasn’t me.”

Sometimes law enforcement gets it wrong, but this time it looks like they really do have “their man.” Possible reasons include the argument that there has been discord between Muslims and Hispanics in the area (the suspect is a Latino).

Others say it was nothing more than neighbors disagreeing from time to time and has nothing to do with race and religion. But this guy apparently doesn’t even live in the area. As New York gets more and more diverse, we all have to adapt so we can peacefully coexist with our new neighbors.

Our Muslim brothers and sisters are hurting. Let us show them that we stand with them.

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