'Hate crime' denounced as New York imam and assistant are shot dead

'Hate crime' denounced as New York imam and assistant are shot dead
By Euronews
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A Muslim imam and his assistant were gunned down and killed while walking home from afternoon prayers on Saturday, according to reports from New York.

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A Muslim imam and his assistant were gunned down and killed while walking home from afternoon prayers on Saturday, according to reports from New York.

The pair were shot in the head at close range in the borough of Queens by a lone attacker who fled the scene.

The slain cleric, 55, was reportedly originally from Bangladesh. His assistant was 64-years-old. Both men were wearing religious garb at the time of the shooting.

NYPD Police Inspector Henry Sautner told a news conference:

“At this time, a motive has not been yet determined…There is nothing in the preliminary indication that would indicate that they were targeted because of their faith.”

But members of the local Muslim community are not convinced.

Protests have erupted in the neighbourhood, denouncing a ‘hate crime’, with some accusing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of stoking Islamophobia.

Local Muslims blame Trump after Queens imam, assistant are both shot to death by gunman https://t.co/c2u5XB2efnpic.twitter.com/1OrM2z5QEh

— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) 13 août 2016

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