People offer to walk Muslims to mosques after Imam killed

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The fatal shooting of a New York City imam and his associate in Queens has prompted people around the country to offer to accompany Muslim worshippers to and from mosques so that they won’t have to fear for their safety.

Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his assistant Thara Uddin, 64, were fatally shot in the back of their heads on Saturday afternoon blocks away from the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid in Ozone Park. The police have not yet arrested anyone for the killings or determined a motive, but members of the heavily Muslim Bangladeshi community fear that the incident was a hate crime.

The men were wearing traditional religious attire when they were shot, and others in the community said they’ve been targeted by anti-Muslim comments.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said in a statement that although police hadn't determined a motive in the shooting, “our Muslim communities are in the perpetual crosshairs of bigotry.”

In response to the killings, many non-Muslims posted tweets with the hashtag #IllWalkWithYou to offer to physically accompany Muslims to their houses of worship.

Muslim Twitter users expressed appreciation, while also urging allies to vote against candidates who espouse Islamophobia.