December 2, 2022

A person arrested because the prime suspect within the serial killing of 4 Muslim males in Albuquerque is believed to be a Sunni Muslim himself, it has been reported.

Police named the person as 51-year-old Muhammad Syed, who lived in southeast Albuquerque. 

He emigrated from Afghanistan ‘in the previous few years’, police stated on Tuesday, and was twice charged with home violence – however fees had been dropped.

Courtroom information obtained by present Syed was arrested in Might 2018 and charged with ‘battery (family member)’. He pleaded not responsible, and prosecutors dropped the costs in August of that 12 months.

4 months later, on December 23, 2018, Syed was charged with aggravated battery. The case was dismissed in April 2019. 

It’s believed that the suspected killer himself was a Sunni Muslim – and will have focused his victims as a result of he was offended over his daughter marrying a Shiite Muslim, in response to the New York Instances. 

However the brother of one of many victims instructed their household was Sunni, not Shiite, and he didn’t consider the speculation. 

Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with the homicide of two fellow Muslim males

Albuquerque police on Tuesday stated Syed was recognized by means of his automotive, because of tip offs from the group. 

‘As detectives ready to look Syed’s house on Monday, Syed drove from the residence within the Volkswagen Jetta that detectives consider was utilized in not less than one of many murders,’ they stated in a press release.

‘Detectives detained Syed and searched his house and the car.

‘They found proof that additional tied Syed to the murders.

‘Detectives found proof that present the offender knew the victims to some prolong and an interpersonal battle could have led to the shootings.’

Syed has been charged with two of the murders which have rocked New Mexico’s largest metropolis: the July 26 killing of Aftab Hussein, 41, and the August 1 dying of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27. Each males moved to the U.S. from Pakistan.

Police say the gun utilized in these two shootings was present in Syed’s house.

The opposite two victims had been each Afghan-born: Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62 and Naeem Hussain, 25.

4 Muslim males have been shot and killed inside a five-mile radius of one another over the previous 9 months 

All the victims had immigrated to the US from South Asia, and had been fatally shot inside a five-mile radius of one another over the previous 9 months.   

Islam’s nice schism

In Islam, Sunnis and Shiites differ on who ought to have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad after his dying in 632.

Sunnis supported the succession of Abu Bakr, the prophet’s good friend, whereas Shiite Muslims consider the successor ought to have been the prophet’s son-in-law and cousin, Ali bin Abu Talib.

This distinction has been the foundation reason for conflicts throughout the Islamic world for hundreds of years. 

Sunnis consider Muslim leaders may be elected for the job. 

However Shiites consider leaders must be direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. 

The 2 denominations nonetheless consider in the identical holy guide – the Quran – and so they additionally pray to the identical god – Allah. 

Ahmad Assed, president of the town’s largest mosque, stated he had been instructed {that a} hatred of Shiite Muslims was being investigated as a doable motive.

But Imtiaz Hussain, the brother of Afzaal Hussain, instructed that he didn’t assist the speculation.

‘My brother is a Sunni Muslim. Not a Shite Muslim,’ stated Imtiaz, who was a prosecutor in Pakistan earlier than transferring to Albuquerque. 

‘So I reject the speculation that has been broadly revealed that Muhammad Syed killed my brother and others as a result of his daughter married a Shiite Muslim. 

‘My brother was a Muslim. He by no means carried any ID that stated he was a Sunni or Shiite.’

Imtiaz Hussain additionally stated he didn’t consider his brother knew Syed. 

‘He solely went to the Islamic Heart each three to 4 months,’ he continued. 

‘I’ve by no means meet this one that murdered my brother nor do I feel my brother knew him. 

‘He’s 51 years previous, my brother is 30 years youthful, they wouldn’t have loads in frequent with that age hole.’ 

Assed stated the concern in his group was much more intense than after the September 11 assaults, when anti-Muslim sentiment was heightened.

‘To expertise one thing as atrocious and as horrific as what we’ve skilled the previous few weeks is simply mind-boggling,’ Assed stated, including folks had been afraid to go close to home windows. 

‘It seems like we’re in a parallel universe.’ 

Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62, was the first Muslim man killed in New Mexico

Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62, was the primary Muslim man killed in Albuquerque again in November 2021

Naeem Hussein, 25, became the most recent victim when he was gunned down in the middle of the street on Friday night

Naeem Hussein, 25, grew to become the newest sufferer when he was gunned down in the midst of the road on Friday evening

Police wouldn’t be drawn on their findings thus far. 

‘The motives are nonetheless being explored,’ stated Deputy Commander Kyle Hartsock.

The totally different denominations of Islam splintered off and have opposing beliefs on who ought to have succeeded Muhammad. Each branches of the faith nonetheless comply with the identical holy guide and worship the identical god.     

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina introduced on Twitter Tuesday: ‘We tracked down the car believed to be concerned in a current homicide of a Muslim man in Albuquerque.

‘The motive force was detained and he’s our major suspect for the murders.’

Hartsock stated: ‘Proper now we’re solely charging one individual. If the proof leads us to another person, we’re going to comply with the proof.’

He stated the ballistic proof from the murders had not but been returned to them. 

Hartsock stated they had been tipped off by somebody locally, by means of the Ambassador’s Program which works on group relations. 

Police acquired over 200 ideas, they stated. 

The announcement comes only a day after the Albuquerque Police Division launched pictures of a darkish grey sedan noticed by witnesses at one of many homicide scenes, which they believed had been utilized by the killer.

‘Reward Allah,’ stated Tahir Gauba the director for public affairs for the Islamic Heart of New Mexico.

He instructed ‘The whole Muslim group had been paralyzed by concern, particularly since final Friday’s homicide of Naeem Hussain. 

‘Individuals weren’t going exterior. They weren’t procuring. The had been terrified of being shot.’

Gauba stated he’s hopeful police have the person who was liable for the 4 males’s murders. 

‘We want to have the ability to have peace in our life and go ahead.’ 

Police had provided a $20,000 reward for any data resulting in a suspect, as Muslim residents prevented going exterior and questioned whether or not they had been protected within the ‘immigrant pleasant’ metropolis.

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina announced on Tuesday that a 'primary suspect' has been arrested in the murder of four Muslim men

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina introduced on Tuesday {that a} ‘major suspect’ has been arrested within the homicide of 4 Muslim males

Imtiaz Hussain (pictured) said his murdered brother Afzaal wanted to become a US congressman

Imtiaz Hussain (pictured) stated his murdered brother Afzaal wished to turn out to be a US congressman

The newest killing got here on Friday, when Naeem Hussein was gunned down in the midst of the road. 

His dying got here simply days after these of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain and Aftab Hussein, who had been additionally from Pakistan and had been members of the identical mosque. 

He had migrated to the US as a refugee from Pakistan in 2016, CNN reported, fleeing persecution as a Shia Muslim.

Afzaal’s brother Imtiaz Hussain instructed ‘Whoever did this hunted my brother down like an animal. My brother didn’t have an enemy on this planet. 

‘He was planning on getting his US passport within the coming years and his American dream was to be a US Congressman from New Mexico.’ 

Imtiaz stated his brother liked politics and liked America. ‘My brother was solely the second Muslim pupil president of the College of New Mexico within the colleges 150-year historical past.’

He stated that his brother went exterior to take a cellphone name round 9:15 PM on August 1 and was gunned down in chilly blood. 

Imtiaz stated the medical expert instructed him that two weapons had been used within the assault: a pistol, and a few kind of lengthy gun.

Imtiaz stated his household wished to take Muhammad’s physique and fly it again to Pakistan, however his facial and head wounds had been too grim. 

Imtiaz confirmed {a photograph} of his lifeless brother on the medical expert’s workplace. The image exhibits Afzaal coated in a white sheet, with solely half of his face seen. Imtiaz stated the opposite half he stated was blown off by the gunshot wound.

A neighbor, Daniel Byrn, who lives a number of doorways down the place Afzaal was gunned down within the entrance of his home on the sidewalk, instructed ‘I didn’t hear something, I used to be asleep. However when the sirens began blaring, I appeared exterior my window and noticed the physique on the sidewalk. 

‘I used to be instructed by police to remain inside my home.’ 

It wasn’t till the following day he observed two bullets had ricocheted off his neighbor’s storage. He stated police instructed him they couldn’t discover the casings. 

Imtiaz is grateful a suspect has been arrested. 

‘We’ve been residing in concern ever since this occurred. Now my two boys can exit on the balcony and play like regular children,’ he stated.

One other neighbor who witnessed the capturing and who lives throughout the road from the place Afzaal was murdered stated she heard the gunfire. 

Baylee Cassel instructed she was sitting in her entrance room when she heard a number of gunshots. 

She had appeared out of her entrance window and noticed a darkish four-door sedan turning the nook onto her avenue, and seconds later stopping for a second in entrance of a home. 

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She noticed flashes of gunfire from the driving force aspect, out the passenger aspect window. 

She thinks she heard 5 or 6 gunshots.

Cassel stated: ‘I couldn’t inform how many individuals the place within the automotive, the again window and the driving force home windows had been rolled up. 

‘I might solely see contained in the automotive for a number of seconds when the driving force began capturing out the passenger window. 

‘When that began, I ducked down for concern of him seeing me.’ 

Cassel stated she wasn’t even conscious of who the driving force of the car was capturing. 

She stated because the incident she has now put in a Ring digicam recorder exterior her door. 

The murders shocked Albuquerque, the biggest metropolis in New Mexico.

Police released photos on Sunday of a dark gray sedan they believed were used to transport the victims after it was spotted by witnesses at one of the murder scenes

Police launched pictures on Sunday of a darkish grey sedan they believed had been used to move the victims after it was noticed by witnesses at one of many homicide scenes

Naeem Hussein had simply turn out to be a United States citizen final month, his brother-in-law Ehsan Shahalami stated, and he had opened his personal trucking enterprise earlier this 12 months.

He had beforehand labored as a case supervisor for Lutheran Household Companies, serving to refugees who had been relocated the US from Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops from the nation.

It was in that parking zone that he was shot and killed whereas in his automotive, the New York Instances experiences. 

Hussein has been described as a form, beneficiant and hardworking individual.

The day he was killed, a spokesman at one of many native mosques stated, he had attended a funeral for 2 different victims — and had expressed his fears in regards to the shootings.

Muslim-American organizations and activists have since been calling on the federal authorities to deploy sources to apprehend the attacker, with Al Jazeera reporting that the Council on American Islamic Relations urged the White Home final week to take a ‘direct function in responding to this capturing spree.’

On Sunday, President Joe Biden issued a press release saying he was ‘angered and saddened by the horrific killings.’

New Mexico Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham additionally referred to as the shootings ‘wholly insupportable,’ promising to do every part doable to assist the state’s rising Muslim inhabitants.

‘I’m sending further State Cops to Albuquerque to work in shut coordination with APD and the FBI to convey the killer or killers to justice,’ she wrote on Twitter Saturday, ‘and so they WILL be discovered.’ 

Metropolis officers have sought over the handed few years to affirm Albuquerque’s standing as an ‘immigrant pleasant metropolis,’ the New York Instances experiences, proscribing federal immigration brokers from getting into city-operated amenities and metropolis workers from amassing immigration standing data.

There at the moment are not less than eight mosques within the metropolis, and metropolis officers have not too long ago strengthened outreach efforts by means of translators that talk Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto. 

In a information convention following Hussein’s dying on Saturday, Medina introduced ‘there’s motive to consider that this dying is expounded to these shootings.’

He stated on the time he was in fixed contact with the FBI and leaders of the native Muslim group to research the capturing, noting officers had been working extra time to patrol Muslim neighborhoods and he was holding a police presence within the space always. 

The local Muslim community has been left shaken as they held a funeral for two of the victims on Friday, both of whom attended the same mosque

The native Muslim group has been left shaken as they held a funeral for 2 of the victims on Friday, each of whom attended the identical mosque 

Assed, the president of Islamic Heart of New Mexico, additionally spoke on the convention to sentence the string of murders in a metropolis with between 5,000 to 10,000 Muslim residents.

‘Our group is devastated,’ Assed stated. ‘We’ve by no means gone by means of something like this earlier than.

‘We’re in concern of the security of our kids, of our households… however the message of hope nonetheless resonates. We have to discover and seize this perpetrator or perpetrators.’

‘Evil won’t win. Hate won’t win. And we are going to defeat evil and hate by working collectively.’

The primary homicide was carried out on the night of November 7.

Mohammad Ahmadi was discovered exterior the café he ran along with his brother Sharief A. Hadi – Ariana Halal Market & Café.

The Afghan-born brothers emigrated to the US with their father within the early Eighties: first residing in Pennsylvania, then transferring to New Mexico after Hadi, making a residing promoting gems, got here throughout the area and liked it.

‘I needed to journey throughout, then I acquired to New Mexico,’ Hadi instructed ABP Information On-line. ‘I prefer it – the climate and the folks had been so good. And I selected to remain right here due to my enterprise.’

Hadi and his brother opened the market in 2008, with Ahmadi working as a prepare dinner, specializing in conventional Afghan dishes and infrequently catering for teams on the close by college.

He stated he left Ahmadi on the store to complete cooking, and suspects his brother had gone out to smoke a cigarette when he was shot round 6pm.

‘I left at 5 o’clock and he had laid down within the again,’ Hadi stated.

‘Once I went house somebody referred to as me and stated ‘Sharief what’s happening at your retailer?’ Once I got here again the police had been throughout.’

Hadi in January stated he was baffled by the unsolved homicide.

‘I don’t have something to inform you,’ he stated. ‘He’s my brother. I liked him, he liked me.’

Eight months later, a second Muslim man was murdered: Aftab Hussein, who moved to New Mexico in 2016.

Working as a busser for an area café, Hussein rented a second-story residence close to the Mesa Verde Neighborhood Heart with two roommates and instructed them he had not too long ago acquired engaged to a lady again house in Pakistan.

He was working to get his passport and different journey paperwork collectively so he might go to Pakistan and get married, his good friend Iftikhar Amirjan instructed The Albuquerque Journal.

‘He was very joyful. He stated ‘I’ll go to Pakistan and get married and produce my spouse right here’ and he stated ‘I’ll make my life,’ ,’ Amirjan stated.

‘He stated ‘I’ll purchase a home in a while and have youngsters.”

Hussein was shot within the night of July 26 within the parking zone of the complicated the place he lived.

Altaf Hussein sprinkles dirt over the grave of his brother Aftab Hussein, who was murdered on July 28 in the parking lot of his apartment complex

Altaf Hussein sprinkles grime over the grave of his brother Aftab Hussein, who was murdered on July 28 within the parking zone of his residence complicated

Along with Hussein, the community mourned the loss of  27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, a native of Pakistan who was an active member of the community

Together with Hussein, the group mourned the lack of  27-year-old Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, a local of Pakistan who was an energetic member of the group

Ahmad Assed, the president of Islamic Center of New Mexico, condemned the killings and said the community will do whatever it can to assist the FBI's probe

Ahmad Assed, the president of Islamic Heart of New Mexico, condemned the killings and stated the group will do no matter it will possibly to help the FBI’s probe 

His roommates, frightened, have since moved out, whereas Hussein’s brother has flown in from the UK.

The third killing was on July 26, when well-known local people organizer and metropolis planner Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was murdered exterior his house.

Born in Pakistan, he moved to the US in 2017 to get a grasp’s diploma in group and regional planning on the College of New Mexico and served as president of the Graduate and Skilled Scholar Affiliation from 2019 to 2020.

He labored with Consultant Melanie Stansbury’s marketing campaign for Congress after which acquired a job because the planning and land use director for the town of Española, 90 miles north of Albuquerque.

Hussein had been commuting for the previous 12 months however had deliberate to maneuver to Española.

His older brother, Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain, a former prosecutor who moved to the U.S. in 2014 to proceed learning regulation, had been staying along with his sibling, and introduced his two younger youngsters with him.

Jordan Yutzy, the Española metropolis supervisor, stated the workforce was in shock.

‘He’s going to be actually missed by the town,’ Yutzy stated.

‘He was very sensible, very devoted, and actually cared in regards to the group as a complete. His can be very massive sneakers for the town to fill.’

The College of New Mexico additionally stated it was ‘deeply saddened to listen to in regards to the tragic and sudden lack of a cherished alumni’ who ‘was a outstanding pupil chief and vibrant human being.’

‘Muhammad was an inspiring chief and a extremely particular Lobo who touched so many lives,’ UNM President Garnett Stokes stated. ‘It was my privilege to know and work with him.’

Stansbury tweeted: ‘As we grieve the unthinkable lack of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, regulation enforcement has launched new data that his capturing could also be linked with the deaths of Mohammad Admadi and Aftab Hussein in our group.

‘We’re working carefully with federal, state, and native companions to guard our Muslim, immigrant, and Center Japanese communities and produce these accountable to justice. Our communities won’t tolerate hate in any type.’

Martin Heinrich, senator for New Mexico, in the meantime, stated: ‘Muhammad Afzaal Hussain was a pillar within the UNM group and an unimaginable power for good.

‘I’m very involved by regulation enforcement experiences that his homicide could also be linked to 2 different murders of Muslim males in Albuquerque. Racist, hate-fueled violence has no place in New Mexico.’

And Tim Keller, the mayor of Albuquerque, stated the town will proceed to ‘stand by our Muslim neighbors’.

‘Whereas we shouldn’t have all of the solutions but, what we do know is that violence towards members of our group primarily based on race or faith won’t be tolerated in Albuquerque,’ he stated in a press release.