DECEMBER 9, 2022
USA News

Tragic Killing of US Mosque Imam Hassan Sharif Sparks Community Outcry Against Islamophobia

Tragic Killing of US Mosque Imam Hassan Sharif Sparks Community Outcry Against Islamophobia

In a distressing incident, Imam Hassan Sharif, the spiritual leader of Muhammad-Newark mosque in New Jersey, was fatally shot after morning prayers. The assailant targeted him near Masjid Mohammad mosque, where he had served as the resident imam for four years. The incident, occurring amid a rising wave of Islamophobia in the United States, has left the community in mourning.

Imam Sharif, 52, was shot multiple times in the abdomen and right arm as he sat in his car on Wednesday at 6 am. Despite being rushed to the hospital, he succumbed to his injuries. This tragic event follows a previous attack on Imam Sharif in August, where an assailant had approached him with a gun outside the mosque.

A vigil was held on South Orange Avenue, drawing a multitude of mourners who remembered Imam Sharif as a preacher of peace, actively combating injustice and violence in Newark. Newark's mayor, Ras J. Baraka, pledged to bring the perpetrator to justice, emphasizing the city's solidarity with the imam and his family.

Imam Sharif's personal connections within the community were highlighted, with individuals recalling his efforts to engage with the youth, address gun violence, and provide support, such as offering free lunches to young people passing by the mosque.

The attack on Imam Sharif is contextualized within the broader context of a surge in Islamophobic incidents across the US and other Western countries. Hate crimes against Muslims have increased, with a notable spike following the October 7 retaliatory attack by the Hamas resistance group on Israel.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported a surge in requests for assistance and reports of prejudice between October 7 and November 4. Dina Sayedahmed, a spokesperson for the New Jersey chapter of CAIR, urged mosques to remain cautious while keeping their doors open.

New Jersey's Attorney General, Matthew Platkin, acknowledged the fear and anxiety within the state's Muslim population. Law enforcement has intensified outreach efforts to houses of worship, recognizing the heightened tensions in the wake of global events, including the conflict in Gaza.

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On This Day

On this day, 1983, former US President Reagan announced the lifting of the ban on selling 75 F-16 fighter jets to Israel, which had been imposed in 1982. Since then, American F-16 fighter jets have played an active role in airstrikes against Gaza and the West Bank, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent children and women in Palestine.

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