ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (NYTIMES) – Mr Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain is afraid to step outside his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to water his plants. Or retrieve books from his car. Or even venture out onto his balcony.
“My kids won’t let me go outside of my apartment,” said Mr Hussain, 41, whose younger brother, Mr Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, was fatally shot a week ago Monday just a few blocks away.
He was one of four Muslim men who were killed recently in the city – three in the past two weeks – and authorities believe the deaths are connected and meant to target the Muslim community.
The latest victim, a Muslim man in his mid-20s from South Asia whose name has not been released by police, was killed Friday (Aug 5) just before midnight.
Another man, Mr Aftab Hussein, 41, was fatally shot July 26.
Authorities say that all three were ambushed and that the recent violence might be connected to the November 2021 killing of Mr Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, outside a business he and his brother ran.
As the Albuquerque police, the FBI and the state police appealed to the public for help in finding the killer or killers – on Sunday authorities described a vehicle of interest, a dark-coloured, four-door Volkswagen sedan – the attacks have left Muslims in a state of terror.
One member who attended the Islamic Centre of New Mexico, the same mosque as all four of the victims, said that he may never return, citing a fear of becoming “bait”.
Other members have temporarily left the state to stay with family members in other parts of the country to wait out the investigation.
One man, who immigrated from Iraq, said that he felt safer back when he first came to the country in the 1980s. Another member, Mr Salem Ansari, said that some who attend the mosque and work night shifts have quit their jobs.
“This situation is getting so much worse,” Mr Ansari said.
Mr Ahmad Assed, president of the mosque, said that he grew up in Albuquerque attending the Islamic Centre but never felt isolated as a Muslim in the city.
But now, he said, the community is going through a “sort of managed panic”.
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