Reuters reports that a Muslim Imam , Maulama Akonjee, and a second man were fatally shot on August 13 while walking home from afternoon prayers in Ozone Park, Queens, NY. Both men were wearing religious garb at the time.

The report does not have any information concerning the shooter's identity or motives, but witnesses say that they saw a lone gunman.

It is not known whether there is any evidence of a hate crime, but Reuters says that residents are feeling increased fear and uncertainty in that largely Muslim neighborhood.


The New York Daily News identifies the second victim as Thara Uddin, and reports that the Imam was an immigrant from Bangladesh from Bangladesh who arrived in Queens two years ago and was a respected religious leader in his community.

While it is must be emphasized that no motive is known for the crime and the news reports do not say anything about any suspect having been caught, there was no doubt in the mind of at least one resident about who was responsible, according to the Daily News:

"'That's not what America is about,' said local resident Khairul Islam, 33. 'We blame Donald Trump for this...Trump and his drama have created Islamophobia.'"


Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Reuters also reports that another Muslim immigrant, Itemid Al-Matar, a 32-year old student from Saudi Arabia, has brought a federal civil rights lawsuit against six Chicago police officers for alleged abuse and harassment in connection with her arrest while she was entering a busy downtown Chicago train station on July 4, 2015.

Her lawsuit claims that in the incident, police threw her to the ground and ripped off her hijab head scarf and niqab face veil.

According to the Reuters report, the police thought that Al-Matar might have been a suicide bomber because she was allegedly clutching a backpack; but, according to a spokesman for Chicago's Council on American-Islamic Relations, which is representing her in the lawsuit, nothing dangerous was found in her backpack and she was doing nothing illegal.

Her lawsuit alleges use of excessive force, false arrest, unlawful search, malicious prosecution and violation of her right to freedom of religious expression.


No one could rationally claim that Donald Trump bears responsibility for either of these two incidents, based on what is known so far. The Chicago arrest took place only about three weeks after Trump formally entered the presidential race last year, and at least five months before he unleashed his notorious Muslim immigrant ban proposal in December, 2015.

In the case of the Queens NY shooting, neither the identity nor the motive of the shooter is known, and they most likely will never be. There could be other explanations than a hate crime, such as possible attempted robbery, as mentioned in the NY Daily News story.

But whether Donald Trump was responsible for either of these two incidents, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he was, is not the issue.

The issue is whether, in a climate where fear and prejudice against Muslim immigrants and US citizens is on the increase, Donald Trump's ongoing attempts to pour gasoline on the flames of hatred by demonizing all Muslims as potential terrorists could lead to more incidents of violence and harassment against the millions of Muslim immigrants and US citizens who are living in this country legally and peacefully.

There is every reason for concern that Donald Trump's inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric, combined with a general atmosphere of support for violence and threats to hang or shoot political opponents such as Hillary Clinton at his rallies; and his vague but dangerous and irresponsible hints of violence by "Second Amendment people", could lead to more incidents of violence and hate crimes against Muslims in America, as well as against minority immigrants in general.
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly skilled and professional immigrants obtain work visas and green cards. Roger's email address is