Investigation is underway to ascertain the motive behind the shooting of the imam who was identified as Hassan Sharif
- Sharif was found lying in parking by officials.
- Investigation underway to ascertain motive of shooting.
- Imam was in critical condition and declared deceased.
Authorities in Newark said Wednesday that an imam of a mosque was shot and killed at South Orange Avenue who was taken to hospital in a critical condition.
As the authorities arrived at the scene, Sharif was found lying in the parking, 10 feet from the mosque entrance.
Investigation is underway to ascertain the motive behind the shooting of the imam who was identified as Hassan Sharif.
According to the local media reports, New Jersey’s spokesperson also confirmed the fatal shooting of the imam of the Masjid Muhammad-Newark.
The imam was taken to the hospital in critical condition where he was declared deceased later on.
The state’s Attorney General Matthew Plotkin said bias did not appear to be a motive for the shooting.
“This investigation is ongoing, but at this time we do not have any information suggesting the crime was motivated by bias,” Plotkin said in a statement.
The AG also noted: “Every possible angle will, of course, be explored and every lead will be fully investigated to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.”
Governor Phil Murphy urged people to come forward and share any information regarding the shooter.
He said: “At a time when the Muslim community is concerned by an increase of bias incidents and crimes, I want to assure the Muslim community and people of all faiths that we will do everything in our power to keep all residents safe, especially in or near our houses of worship.”
A spokesperson for a non-profit organisation CAIR-NJ in a statement said that Sharif was a beacon of leadership in the community.
The statement noted that “we are shocked by the news of the shooting at Masjid Muhammad in Newark, NJ during Fajr (pre-dawn) prayers. At this time, we do not have information on the perpetrator’s motive.”
The statement also added: “Imam Hassan Sharif is a beacon of leadership in his community and we are praying for his full and speedy recovery. We ask others to do the same. As always, and irrespective of this specific incident, we advise all mosques to keep their doors open but remain cautious, especially given the recent spike in anti-Muslim bigotry.”
According to local media reports, the deceased imam also worked as a Transportation Security Officer at Newark Liberty International Airport since 2006.
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