Albuquerque police investigate murders of 4 Muslim men as possibly linked

Police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are working to determine whether the killings of four Muslim men over the past nine months are linked, the latest of which occurred on Friday night.

In a news briefing Saturday afternoon with local and federal officials, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina revealed that “a young man who is part of the Muslim community was murdered.”

The victim’s name and circumstances of the crime were not immediately provided. Medina, however, said the killings are believed to be linked to the previous three, all of which have been described as ambush-style shootouts.

“As in the three previous killings we mentioned on Thursday, there is reason to believe that this death is related to those shootings,” Medina said.

According to the Albuquerque Journal, Mohammed Afzal Hussain, 27, was shot dead on August 1, while Aftab Hussain, 41, was murdered on July 26. Both were from Pakistan and were members of the same mosque.

After this, 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim man of South Asian origin, was murdered in November 2021. Ahmadi was killed along with his brother in the back of a market and cafe.

Authorities on Saturday did not release any suspicious information or confirm whether the killings were considered a hate crime.

“At this point, we don’t know that,” Albuquerque police spokesman Gilbert Gallego told reporters.

The New Mexico State Police, the FBI, and the US Marshals Service are among the many agencies involved in investigating the murders. Medina said the overtime cap has been removed for officers to allow the department to increase its patrols.

“I want to reassure those members of the Muslim community that we are dedicated resources, but we would also like them to be alert, take care of each other,” Medina said.

The governor, the mayor of Albuquerque and civil rights groups expressed concern that violence against members of the community based on race or religion would not be tolerated.

“The community certainly needs to understand the seriousness of the conduct displayed in the shooting of all three thesis,” Ahmed Aseed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told a news conference on Thursday. “If it is true that we were targeted as Muslims, then they need to be very careful in protecting themselves and taking precautionary measures. They need to look around them.”

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