Suspect Charged With Murder of Imam, Friend in New York City

By Sameer Rao Aug 16, 2016

We reported yesterday (August 15) on the August 13 killing of Queens-based imam Maulama Akonjee and his friend Thara Uddin. Officials have now confirmed that the person who was apprehended will face murder and weapons charges.

The New York Times said yesterday that authorities charged Brooklyn resident Oscar Morel with two counts each of second-degree murder and criminal weapon possession. An anonymous NYPD official told the Times that police found clothes matching descriptions of the shooter and a weapon hidden in a resealed wall cavity in Morel’s apartment.

Akonjee and Uddin were each shot in the head after leaving the mosque Saturday. They died at a local hospital. Funeral services on Sunday drew hundreds of mourners to Queens, including some who held signs reading "We Are Muslims, Not Terrorists" and "We Want Peace."

Police told the Times that it was "certainly on the table that [the killings were] a hate crime." Morel currently faces no hate crime charges for killing the Muslim men.