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Muslims under attack as Albuquerque police investigate murders

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Muslims under attack as Albuquerque police investigate murders
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Police say a fourth Muslim man has been shot and killed in Albuquerque. They believe his death may be connected to the murders of three other Muslim men in the metro, per KOB 4.

The most recent killing happened early Saturday morning. Police say they responded to the area of Truman and Grand just after midnight. Upon arrival, police say they found a Muslim man shot and killed. This happened near San Mateo and was right outside Lutheran Family Services – an organization which helps refugees.

KOB 4 confirmed with multiple people in the Muslim community that the man killed overnight was Naeem Hussain.

The first victim possibly linked to this case is Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, who was killed last year. The second victim is Aftab Hussein who was murdered less than two weeks ago. Muhammad Afzaal Hussain is the third victim who was killed Monday night.

Now, Naeem Hussain, who was the man killed on Saturday.

Islamophobia: irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against Islam or people who practice Islam. 

Islamophobia has steadily been on the rise since 9/11. As the “war on terror” raged on abroad, Muslims were scrutinized within public, political and media discourses domestically. Consistently stigmatizing Muslims made it easy to propagate Islamophobic rhetoric and soon words became actions, leaving those who many Americans accused of terrorism now terrified in their own communities.

According to KOB 4, police have not said whether they believe one person or multiple suspects carried out these heinous attacks, but they did give an update on their investigation Saturday afternoon. The main message from law enforcement was that they need the public’s help to catch whoever is targeting Muslim men.

They said they couldn’t share if they had any leads or suspect descriptions at this time, but they are urging anyone with information or tips relating to any of these four murders to call law enforcement right away.

Xenophobia: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign.

According to Public Books, the United States is a nation of xenophobia. Since 1892, the United States has deported more immigrants (over 57 million) than any other nation. Our history, politics, and laws have also revealed that an irrational hostility towards immigrants has been a constant and enduring force in the United States. Germans were seen as a threat in colonial America. In the 19th century, anxiety directed at Irish Catholics fueled an anti-immigrant political movement. In the 20th century, Asians were barred, and Mexicans were deported. In the 21st, Muslims have been banned and Central Americans denied asylum.

The APD, FBI, and both the district and U.S. attorneys all spoke out against these murders Saturday not only calling for more information but also urging members of Albuquerque’s Muslim community to stay vigilant and to be extra cautious in the coming days.

APD says they believe these killings are connected, but it is still early in their investigation.

“I think it is too early to comment on that or classify it with a term like that right now. This is an alarming death that connects to the others as far as we can tell, so we will focus on that and focus together with our federal partners,” replied APD Public Information Officer Gilbert Gallegos.

KOB 4 also asked if the most recent victim, Hussain, was ambushed and shot in the same way as the other murdered Muslim men were attacked. APD said they can’t share that information at this time.

Police were also asked if they believe the suspect is escalating their attacks because they know multiple law enforcement agencies are after them. APD could not comment.

The press conference ended with a message for the Muslim community.

“Watch out for one another. Let other individuals know when you are going in and out. Make it very obvious that others are watching you as you come in and out of your car or your house. Make sure you are open and extremely visual and purposeful that you are conducting daily activities and it’s important that we are all watching out for one another,” said APD Chief of Police Harold Medina.

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