Imam shot and critically wounded outside mosque in Newark, New Jersey

Authorities named the imam as Hassan Sharif and no motive has yet been established

A Newark Police vehicle parked outside the Masjid Muhammad in New Jersey. WABC / AP
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An imam was shot outside a mosque in Newark, New Jersey, on Wednesday, officials said.

He was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

Authorities named the imam as Hassan Sharif and said the shooting had occurred outside Masjid Muhammad after dawn prayers.

The shooting is under investigation, official and no motive has been established. The gunman was believed to be at large.

The incident comes amid rising concerns over Islamophobia and hate crimes in the US, as Israel's war on Gaza drags on for a third month, with little sign of ending.

“At a time when the Muslim community is concerned by an increase in 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 places of worship,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said in a statement on social media.

In late November, three Palestinian university students were shot in Vermont while on their way to a family dinner. One student was paralysed from the waist down.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 9:53 AM