From August 7 in the New York Times news section, a heavily splashed article:
As the authorities appeal to the public for help in their investigation, many Muslim residents are experiencing a “managed panic.”
By Neelam Bohra and Vimal Patel
Aug. 7, 2022
Muhammad Imtiaz Hussain is afraid to step outside his home in Albuquerque 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 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 the police, was killed on Friday just before midnight. Another man, Aftab Hussein, 41, was fatally shot on July 26. Authorities say that the killings of all three might be connected to the November 2021 killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, outside a business he and his brother ran.
As the Albuquerque Police, the F.B.I. 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-colored, four-door Volkswagen sedan — the attacks have left Muslims in a state of terror.
One member who attended the Islamic Center 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, 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.
… “Now, I look outside the window and think, ‘Oh, this is the place where my brother was killed. Should we move?’” he said.
… In general, anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States have been trending downward. Brian Levin, a professor of criminal justice at California State University at San Bernardino and the director of the school’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, said that the number of hate crimes reported against Muslims was lower in 2020 than in any year since 9/11, though he added that those numbers may be skewed because of pandemic restrictions.
But he said that hate crimes remain a concern: They rose more than 20 percent in 2021 and increased another 4.7 percent in the first half of 2022, the center reported. Also, “underlying anti-Muslim attitudes” are pervasive and resurface during times of national hardship, according to Professor Levin’s studies.
The authorities said that they are refraining from using the term “hate” in labeling the crimes until a motive could be established.
Just last year, the Islamic Center faced an attempted arson from a woman who the police say set three fires on the mosque playground and one fire at the mosque’s main entry. No one was injured, and the woman was arrested and charged with arson. The case is pending.
The Islamic Center has instructed its nearly 2,500 members to stay home as much as they can, use the “buddy system” when going out and refrain from “engaging with or agitating” anyone, Mr. Assed said.
He added that he still felt supported by other communities but that this time he also was feeling a sense of “hopelessness and despair.”
… “My 5-year-old keeps asking, ‘Hey, where is my uncle?’” he said. “She’ll see me crying and say, ‘Are you a crybaby? Why are you crying?’ But we can’t tell her. Not yet.”
Neelam Bohra is the 2022-2023 disability reporting fellow for the National desk. @neelambohratx
And from the New York Times news section today:
The shootings of four Muslim men since November may be connected, the police have said, raising fears in a place where many immigrants and refugees had felt at home.
So, they finally caught the MAGA redneck terrorist who was killing Muslims for being diverse!
By Simon Romero, Neelam Bohra, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Ava Sasani
Aug. 9, 2022
Updated 7:52 p.m. ET
ALBUQUERQUE — For days, the news that someone might be killing Muslim men in Albuquerque spread fear among the city’s Muslim residents, some of whom were so afraid of becoming the next target that they fled town or hunkered down in their homes.
On Tuesday, the police said they had arrested a man who was himself Muslim and who may have targeted at least two of the victims because he was angry that his daughter had married a man from the other major branch of Islam.
Huh? Where’d that come from?
The police said the man, Muhammad Syed, 51, would be charged in two of the killings and that he was a suspect in the other two deaths.
Ahmad Assed, the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, a mosque that at least three of the victims had attended, said the authorities told him that the suspect was a Sunni Muslim, and may have targeted the victims because he was angry over his daughter marrying a Shiite Muslim.
And then the article wanders off with the four reporters trying to repurpose their notes from their intended Pulitzer Prize-winning expose “The Dark Heart of Hate Stalks Muslims Even in Albuquerque.”
… The report of an interpersonal conflict that could be linked to a sectarian dispute raised the specter of the kind of violence that many immigrants from conflict-ridden countries had hoped to leave behind.
… For years, the authorities in Albuquerque had sought to shape the city into a haven for immigrants. Hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan have settled in the city over the past year, since the withdrawal of the U.S. military in that country.
The latest killings come as Albuquerque has been upended by a harrowing spike in gun violence, with the city on pace to see more murders this year than any other on record. …
Mr. Assed, who was born in Dearborn, Mich., said that even with increasing xenophobia after the Sept. 11 attacks, Albuquerque seemed to continue to treat the Muslim community with respect, regardless of faith and nationalities.
Now many Muslims in the city feel like targets, and fear is even driving some people to make plans to leave New Mexico.
Indeed, the killings have jolted an increasingly diverse city, where immigration, largely from Mexico and other Latin American countries, is a major source of population growth and integral to the city’s history. Immigrants from the Middle East, including Muslims and Christians from Lebanon and Syria, put down stakes in Albuquerque and other parts of New Mexico in the late 19th century.
… During the Trump administration, when concerns grew over bigotry directed against Muslims, officials passed a bill affirming Albuquerque’s status as an “immigrant friendly” city. It restricted federal immigration agents from entering city-operated facilities and city employees from collecting immigration status information.
At least 300 Afghan refugees have arrived in Albuquerque over the past year, bolstering a growing community reflected today by at least eight different places of worship for Muslims. Albuquerque strengthened outreach efforts through translators speaking Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Urdu and Pashto — languages that officials have prioritized in recent days when sharing information about the killings.
Although Muslims in the United States faced violence and discrimination after Sept. 11 and during Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign, the apparent serial nature of the attacks in Albuquerque — and the stubborn mystery of who is responsible — is uniquely disconcerting, said Sumayyah Waheed, senior policy counsel at Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group.
In contrast, there’s the Daily Mail’s rather more informative headline:
PICTURED: Afghan man arrested on suspicion of murdering four fellow Muslims in Albuquerque ‘in a fury after his Sunni daughter married a Shiite man’: Muhammad Syed, 51, had previously faced domestic violence allegations
Here’s the President’s tweet two days ago:
I am angered and saddened by the horrific killings of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. 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.
— President Biden (@POTUS) August 7, 2022
Just like we have a National Transportation Safety Board to review airliner crashes (which we don’t have many of anymore), we should have a National Immigration Safety Board to review each immigrant who commits murder and why he was let into the country.
This story reminds me of a local story that for about 8 hours looked like it was going to be the biggest news in the country that week, but then vanished.
The first reports were that two Jewish men had been shot in a Valley Village synagogue.
Anti-semitic mass shooting in a synagogue!
But then … nothing. Eventually, the facts came out in the backpages.
The two men weren’t exactly shot in the synagogue, but in the synagogue’s parking garage.
At 4 AM.
And both were shot in the knee.
At close range.
And neither victim could remember who shot them or why they were in the parking garage at 4 AM.