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Friday, May 24, 2024

Imam in Newark shot outside the Muhammad-Newark mosque

Circumstances surrounding his death have led investigators to explore the possibility that a relative might be involved.

In the early hours of January 3, tragedy struck the community of Newark as Imam Hassan Sharif was shot outside the Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque. The circumstances surrounding his death have led investigators to explore the possibility that a relative might be involved in this shocking incident. As law enforcement intensifies efforts to solve the case, a cloud of uncertainty hovers over the motive behind the killing.

Law Enforcement Dragnet

The killing of Imam Sharif has prompted an extensive law enforcement dragnet, with authorities working tirelessly to unravel the details of the crime. While there is no evidence pointing to religious hate as a motive, investigators are diligently pursuing leads to determine the identity of the perpetrator. One key piece of evidence is a video from the crime scene that allegedly shows a man riding away on a bicycle, sparking speculation about a potential familial connection to the victim.

Read More: US imam shot outside New Jersey mosque dies

Family’s Silence

The family of Imam Sharif has maintained a tight-lipped stance on the matter, declining to comment on the ongoing investigation. This silence adds another layer of mystery to the case, leaving the public and investigators alike with unanswered questions. The authorities have emphasized the active and ongoing nature of the investigation, highlighting that no arrests have been made as of now.

Community Outpouring and Concerns

Imam Sharif’s killing has reverberated beyond the confines of the investigation, prompting concerns about the safety of religious leaders and worshippers. The incident comes at a time of heightened bias incidents against Muslims and Jews, following terror attacks in the Middle East. The Council on American-Islamic Relations reports a significant increase in bias incidents against U.S. Muslims since the beginning of these events, emphasizing the need for vigilance and protection of people of faith.

Reward for Information

In a bid to encourage cooperation from the public, a combined reward of $35,000 is being offered for information leading to a breakthrough in the case. This underscores the seriousness with which law enforcement views this investigation and emphasizes the importance of community involvement in solving such crimes.

Imam Sharif’s Legacy

Apart from his role as an imam, Hassan Sharif worked as a transportation security officer for nearly two decades at Newark Liberty International Airport. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) expressed deep sadness at his passing, highlighting his contributions and extending condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues. Sharif’s death leaves a void not only in the religious community but also among his TSA colleagues.

Community Response and Mourning

A video statement from Masjid Muhammad-Newark expressed condolences and prayers for Imam Sharif. The community is coming together to support one another during this challenging time, focusing on providing the imam with the last rights and a dignified burial. The statement appeals to the community to be mindful of the family’s grief and emphasizes the need for unity and support.

Read More: Germany announces to stop accepting imams sent from Turkey

Imam Sharif’s death follows other recent killings of religious leaders or attacks near houses of worship. Officials in Detroit asserted that the killing of a synagogue leader was not motivated by antisemitism, while authorities in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, attributed a man’s death outside a mosque to a carjacking. These incidents underscore the complexity of investigating crimes against religious leaders and the importance of careful consideration of motives.