Killings of four Muslim men in New Mexico may be linked, police say

President Joe Biden says such hate crimes 'have no place in America'

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Police in New Mexico state and federal agencies are investigating four murders of Muslim men in the south-western US state that they say could be connected.

Just before midnight on Friday, Albuquerque Police officers responded to a lethal shooting of a man in his mid-20s. He was a Muslim and native of South Asia, but his identity has not been released yet.

The police department believes that his murder could be connected to three other recent killings of Muslim men of South Asian descent in New Mexico.

On August 1, Muhammed Afzaal Hussain, 27, was killed. Less than a week before that, on July 26, Aftab Hussein, 41, was also killed. Both men were from Pakistan and worshipped at the same mosque.

The police now say there is a connection between these two murders. They are are also looking into whether there is a link to the killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim immigrant from Afghanistan, in November.

The Albuquerque police department said the FBI was helping in the investigation and the city was offering a $20,000 reward for information on the murders.

Hussain, who was killed last Monday, was the planning and land use director for the city of Espanola. Hussein was murdered on July 26 and worked at a local cafe.

Police did not give details on why they thought the killings may be connected, but said they believed the Muslim community was being targeted.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham called the killings "deeply angering and wholly intolerable”.

"The targeted killings of Muslim residents of Albuquerque is deeply angering and wholly intolerable," Ms Grisham said.

"I am sending additional State Police officers to Albuquerque to work in close co-ordination with APD and the FBI to bring the killer or killers to justice — and they will be found.

"We will continue to do everything we can to support to the Muslim community of Albuquerque and greater New Mexico during this difficult time.”

The Albuquerque Journal reported that the man killed on Friday was attacked after attending the funeral service for the two Muslim men murdered in the past two weeks.

He “was shot to death in a car park of an organisation that offers services for refugees and asylum seekers”, the report said, quoting a spokesman for the Islamic Centre in Albuquerque.

Local officers tried to reassure the community on Saturday, and said they were devoting all necessary resources to the investigation.

US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris condemned the attacks through Twitter on Sunday.

“I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque,” Mr Biden said.

“While we await a full investigation, my prayers are with the victims’ families and my administration stands strongly with the Muslim community.

"These hateful attacks have no place in America.”

Ms Harris said: "I am deeply disturbed by the killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque.

"We remain clear that we stand with the Muslim community in New Mexico and around our country. Hate has no place in America."

Updated: August 08, 2022, 2:47 PM