Suspect in Albuquerque Muslim killings denies involvement | Crime News

A worry of assaults that had rippled by way of Muslim communities nationwide in the US after the deadly shootings of 4 males in Albuquerque, New Mexico, gave solution to shock and unhappiness when it turned out the suspect within the killings was himself a Muslim.

Muhammad Syed, 51, of Albuquerque, was arrested Monday after a visitors cease greater than 160 km (100 miles) from his Albuquerque dwelling. The Afghan immigrant denied any connection to the crimes that shook town and its small Muslim neighborhood.

In court docket paperwork, he instructed police that he was so unnerved by the slayings that he was driving to Houston to discover a new dwelling for his household.

However investigators have mentioned they’ve ample proof to show his guilt, although they’ve but to uncover the motive. The primary ambush-style taking pictures occurred in November and was adopted by three extra between July 26 and August 5.

In line with the legal criticism, police decided that bullet casings present in Syed’s automobile matched the calibre of the weapons believed to have been utilized in two of the killings and that casings discovered on the crime scenes had been linked to weapons discovered at Syed’s dwelling and in his automobile.

Of the greater than 200 suggestions police acquired, it was one from the Muslim neighborhood that led them to the Syed household, authorities mentioned, noting that Syed knew the victims and “an interpersonal battle could have led to the shootings”.

The information of Syed’s arrest surprised Muslims in Albuquerque.

“I needed somewhat closure for the neighborhood, as we noticed it going out of hand and other people had been actually panicking, however, I’ll be trustworthy with you, I used to be shocked,” mentioned Samia Assed, a neighborhood organiser and member of the Islamic Heart of New Mexico.

“I used to be offended, pissed off,” Assed mentioned, including that she didn’t need “these heinous crimes to be in any method, in any capability used to divide a neighborhood”. However she additionally mentioned that the Muslim neighborhood in New Mexico is “going to have a extra united entrance”.

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a movement to detain Syed with out bond pending trial. “He’s a really harmful individual, and the one solution to shield the neighborhood is to carry the defendant in custody,” they mentioned.

Authorities seized a 9 mm handgun from his automobile and mentioned they discovered an AK-47-style rifle and a pistol of the identical calibre on the household dwelling whereas serving a search warrant, in accordance with court docket paperwork, which point out the weapons had been legally bought final month. Syed purchased the rifle, and his son Shaheen Syed bought the pistol, at an area gun store.

Muhammad Syed
Muhammad Syed has denied any involvement in a string of killings of Muslim males that unfold worry all through Muslim communities throughout the US [Albuquerque Police Department via AP]

 

On Wednesday, Shaheen Syed was charged by federal prosecutors with offering a false Florida handle when he purchased two rifles final 12 months. He has denied any function within the killings and has not been charged in reference to them.

Muhammad Syed has lived within the US for about 5 years, police mentioned. When interviewed by detectives, Syed spoke by way of a Pashto interpreter and mentioned he had been with the particular forces in Afghanistan and fought in opposition to the Taliban, the legal criticism mentioned.

Police say they’re plenty of potential motives. When requested at a information convention Tuesday if Syed, a Sunni Muslim, was offended that his daughter married a Shia Muslim, Deputy Police Commander Kyle Hartsock didn’t reply straight. He mentioned, “motives are nonetheless being explored totally to know what they’re.”

Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Heart of New Mexico, on Tuesday acknowledged that “there was a wedding,” however he cautioned in opposition to coming to any conclusions in regards to the motivation of the suspect, who sometimes attended the centre’s mosque.

CNN interviewed Syed’s daughter shortly earlier than the announcement of his arrest. She mentioned her husband was pals with two of the lads who had been killed. She additionally acknowledged her father initially was upset about her 2018 marriage however lately had been extra accepting.

“My father isn’t an individual who can kill someone,” the girl instructed CNN, which didn’t disclose her id to guard her security. “My father has at all times talked about peace. That’s why we’re right here in the US. We got here from Afghanistan, from combating, from taking pictures.”

In 2017, a boyfriend of Syed’s daughter reported to police that Syed, his spouse and one among their sons had pulled him out of a automobile, punching and kicking him earlier than driving away, in accordance with court docket paperwork. The boyfriend, who was discovered with a bloody nostril, scratches and bruises, instructed police that he was attacked as a result of they didn’t need her in a relationship with him.

Syed was arrested in Might 2018 after a combat together with his spouse turned violent, court docket paperwork mentioned. Prosecutors mentioned each circumstances had been later dismissed after the victims declined to press fees.

Syed additionally was arrested in 2020 after he was accused of refusing to drag over for police after working a visitors gentle, however that case was finally dismissed, court docket paperwork mentioned.

The Albuquerque slayings drew the eye of President Joe Biden, who mentioned such assaults “haven’t any place in America”. In addition they despatched a shudder by way of Muslim communities throughout the US as some folks questioned their security and restricted their actions.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller speaks to an interfaith memorial ceremony at the New Mexico Islamic Center in Alburquerque, New Mexico.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller speaks to an interfaith memorial ceremony on the New Mexico Islamic Heart mosque on August 9. Shock blended with unhappiness when members of the neighborhood discovered the suspect was a fellow Muslim [Andrew Hay/Reuters]

“There isn’t any justification for this evil. There isn’t any justification to take an harmless life,” Nihad Awad, government director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations, mentioned at a Tuesday information convention in Washington, DC. He known as the killings “deranged conduct”.

The earliest case includes the November killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, from Afghanistan.

Naeem Hussain, a 25-year-old man from Pakistan, was killed final Friday. His loss of life got here simply days after these of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, who had been additionally from Pakistan and members of the identical mosque.

Investigators contemplate Syed to be the first suspect within the deaths of Naeem Hussain and Ahmadi however haven’t but filed fees in these circumstances.

Ehsan Chahalmi, the brother-in-law of Naeem Hussain, mentioned he was “a beneficiant, variety, giving, forgiving and loving soul that has been taken away from us eternally”.

Police mentioned they had been about to go looking Syed’s Albuquerque dwelling on Monday once they noticed him drive away in a Volkswagen Jetta that investigators imagine was utilized in at the least one of many slayings.

Qatar, other Muslim nations condemn India over anti-Islam remarks | Islamophobia News

Worldwide backlash is rising towards India after a ruling get together official made Islamophobic feedback throughout a televised debate, with Qatar and several other different Muslim nations lodging official protests towards New Delhi and demanding a “public apology”.

A minimum of 5 Arab nations have lodged official protests towards India, and Pakistan and Afghanistan additionally reacted strongly on Monday to the feedback made by two members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Occasion (BJP).

Anger has poured out on social media, and requires a boycott of Indian items have surfaced in some Arab international locations. Al Jazeera TV on Monday reported that Indian merchandise had been faraway from cabinets in some retailers in Kuwait.

The criticism from Muslim international locations had been extreme, indicating that insulting Prophet Muhammad is a purple line.

The anger has been rising since final week after the 2 BJP members – nationwide spokeswoman Nupur Sharma and Delhi BJP employees Naveen Jindal – made remarks that had been seen as insulting Prophet Muhammad and his spouse Aisha.

Modi’s get together took no motion towards them till Sunday when a refrain of diplomatic outrage started with Qatar and Kuwait summoning their Indian ambassadors to protest.

In an announcement, Qatari Minister of State for International Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi mentioned “these insulting remarks would result in incitement of non secular hatred, and offend greater than two billion Muslims all over the world”.

Doha is anticipating “a public apology and speedy condemnation of those remarks” from the Indian authorities, mentioned the assertion, which got here as India’s Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the rich Gulf state on Sunday in a bid to bolster commerce.

Kuwait warned that if the feedback towards Prophet Muhammad go unpunished, India would see “a rise of extremism and hatred”.

The grand mufti of the sultanate of Oman described the “obscene rudeness” of Modi’s get together in the direction of Islam as a type of “conflict”. And Saudi Arabia mentioned the feedback had been “insulting” and known as for “respect for beliefs and religions” because it and Iran lodged complaints with India.

The Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) mentioned the remarks got here in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse towards Islam in India and systematic practices towards Muslims”.

India’s international ministry on Monday rejected feedback by the OIC as “unwarranted” and “narrow-minded”.

The anti-Islam remarks additionally led to anger in India’s archrival and neighbour Pakistan and in Afghanistan.

On Monday, Pakistan’s international ministry summoned an Indian diplomat and conveyed Islamabad’s “sturdy condemnation”, a day after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif mentioned the feedback had been “hurtful” and that “India beneath Modi is trampling spiritual freedoms and persecuting Muslims”.

The Taliban authorities in Afghanistan mentioned India mustn’t enable “such fanatics to insult … Islam and provoke the sentiments of Muslims”.

Narendra Modi
Anti-Muslim sentiments and assaults have risen throughout India beneath Modi [File: Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP]

‘Too little, too late’

India’s embassy in Qatar launched an announcement on Sunday, saying the views expressed towards the Prophet and Islam weren’t that of the Indian authorities however had been made by “fringe components”.

The assertion mentioned sturdy motion had already been taken towards those that made the derogatory remarks.

In one other assertion, India’s international ministry on Sunday mentioned the offensive tweets and feedback didn’t, in any approach, replicate the views of the federal government.

As anger in Gulf states grew, the BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal for hurting the spiritual sentiments of Muslims who make up about 14 p.c of India’s 1.35 billion folks.

Reporting from New Delhi, Al Jazeera’s Pavni Mittal mentioned the BJP members’ remarks put India in a “very embarrassing place” and that the Indian authorities is trying “harm management” however critics in India say the actions are “too little, too late”.

“And that goes again to a historical past of its (BJP’s) high leaders making inflammatory, anti-Islamic and anti-minority feedback overtly, and getting away with it fairly simply,” Mittal mentioned.

“A couple of months in the past, there have been leaders that known as for genocide and violence towards Muslims in public conferences, and rights teams that pointed this out in reviews have been met with a number of resistance. In truth, they noticed their places of work both shut or international funding frozen.”

Protests had been held on Monday towards the anti-Muslim remarks within the monetary capital Mumbai and different Indian cities, whereas dozens of individuals had been arrested for rioting within the northern metropolis of Kanpur.

Prophet Muhammad insult
Muslims demanding arrest of BJP’s Nupur Sharma throughout a protest in Mumbai [Rafiq Maqbool/AP]

Former Indian diplomat Vivek Katju advised Al Jazeera he was “shocked” by the feedback on Islam’s prophet “as a result of that isn’t consistent with what I’ve grown up with – that no spiritual character or religion be denounced”.

India’s previous ties with the Gulf

The remarks made by Sharma throughout a TV programme and Jindal in a tweet threat damaging India’s ties with Arab nations.

India’s commerce with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which incorporates Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, stood at roughly $90bn in 2020-2021. Tens of millions of Indians stay and work in GCC international locations.

Prime Minister Modi lately has strengthened financial ties with the energy-rich nations, the highest supply for the nation’s gasoline imports.

A senior official on the Qatari embassy in New Delhi mentioned Modi’s authorities should publicly distance itself from the feedback.

“Hurting our spiritual sentiments can instantly influence financial ties,” the official mentioned, including they had been checking reviews a couple of boycott of Indian items by some grocery store house owners in Qatar.

Katju, the previous Indian diplomat, mentioned there’s a “mutuality of curiosity between India and the Gulf”.

“And that curiosity is proven within the rising relationship between India and the Gulf states. I don’t see that’s going to go away due to this incident,” he advised Al Jazeera.

India maintains sturdy relations with many Gulf states, which depend on tens of millions of migrant staff from India and elsewhere in South Asia to serve their tiny native populations and drive the equipment of day by day life.

Anti-Muslim sentiments and assaults have risen throughout India beneath Modi as Hindu nationalists really feel emboldened by his common silence on such assaults since he was first elected in 2014.

Over time, Indian Muslims have been usually focused for all the things from their meals and clothes to inter-religious marriages and locations of worship.

Watchdog teams resembling Human Rights Watch and Amnesty Worldwide have warned that assaults might escalate, whereas a number one professional on political violence warned India is on the cusp of a genocide of Muslims.

Rights teams have additionally accused Modi’s ruling get together of trying the opposite approach and generally enabling hate speech towards Muslims. Modi’s get together denies the accusations, however India’s Muslims say assaults towards them and their religion have change into relentless.

Final week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned India was seeing “rising assaults on folks and locations of worship”, to which New Delhi responded, calling the feedback “ill-informed”.

Extra not too long ago, spiritual tensions have escalated after some Hindu teams went to a courtroom within the northern metropolis of Varanasi to hunt permission to wish at a Seventeenth-century mosque, claiming that it was constructed by demolishing a temple.

Critics say these tensions have been additional exacerbated by India’s TV channel anchors throughout raucous debates. Sharma had made the feedback towards Prophet Muhammad throughout one such debate.

India: Muslim group takes ‘dangerous bulldozer politics’ to court | Islamophobia News

New Delhi, India – A outstanding Muslim organisation has filed a plea in India’s high court docket, urging its intervention as properties of primarily Muslims accused of violence are bulldozed by the authorities in states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Get together (BJP).

“Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind has filed a petition within the Supreme Courtroom in opposition to the damaging politics of bulldozers which have been began to destroy minorities particularly Muslims beneath the guise of crime prevention in BJP-ruled states,” the group’s president, Arshad Madani, tweeted on Monday.

The petition urges the highest court docket to problem instructions to the federal and state governments that “no lasting precipitative motion be taken in opposition to any accused in any legal proceedings” and that residential buildings not be demolished as a punitive measure.

Final week, authorities in no less than two states demolished dozens of houses and outlets, virtually all of them belonging to Muslims accused of violence throughout a Hindu pageant.

Within the central state of Madhya Pradesh, violence broke out through the Ram Navmi pageant earlier this month.

Hindu devotees often take out giant processions on the day to have a good time the delivery of their god Ram.

Nevertheless, the processions this yr noticed saffron-clad Hindu males carrying swords, sticks and pistols as they marched by way of primarily Muslim neighbourhoods, elevating slogans threatening genocide of the neighborhood, taking part in loud music outdoors mosques, and attacking houses and outlets belonging to Muslims.

In some locations, stones have been pelted, resulting in violence between the 2 communities, as either side blamed the opposite for beginning it. A minimum of two individuals died within the clashes.

India protest over demolition
Protesters maintain placards throughout a vigil in opposition to anti-Muslim violence in India, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi [Bilal Kuchay/Al Jazeera]

In Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh, violence erupted after almost 10 homes and a mosque have been set on hearth through the Ram Navmi procession, forcing the police to impose a curfew. Violence was additionally reported from different Indian states through the pageant.

A day later, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan stated the “rioters have been recognized” whereas the state’s dwelling minister blamed Muslims for the violence.

“Those that have pelted stones will likely be punished however together with it they are going to be made to pay for the losses to each private and non-private properties,” Chouhan stated.

Appearing on cue from the highest state chief, authorities in Khargone used bulldozers to demolish almost 50 properties – most of them belonging to Muslims accused of inciting violence.

Comparable demolitions have been additionally reported from Modi’s dwelling state of Gujarat following violence on Ram Navmi.

“The Madhya Pradesh authorities is simply demolishing these constructions which have been erected over authorities lands. And if anyone feels that the legislation was violated, they’re open to going to court docket,” BJP politician in Madhya Pradesh, Rajneesh Agarwal, informed Al Jazeera on Monday.

However rights teams and authorized consultants have questioned the legality of the demolitions.

In an announcement final week, Amnesty Worldwide stated the demolitions “quantity to collective punishment” of the minority neighborhood and referred to as for a “thorough, neutral and clear investigation” into the matter.

In its petition earlier than the Supreme Courtroom, the Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind stated the coverage of utilizing bulldozers has been “began to destroy minorities, particularly Muslims, beneath the guise of crime prevention in BJP-ruled states”.

“It’s noteworthy that the politics of bulldozers is already occurring in Uttar Pradesh, however now this nefarious act has began in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as effectively,” an announcement launched by the Muslim organisation stated.

“The governments are doing what the courts used to do. It appears the rule of legislation in India is over now.”

Supreme Courtroom lawyer Vrinda Grover stated demolishing the property of an individual accused of violence was “completely unconstitutional and unlawful”.

“Truly there isn’t any legislation which allows this type of demolition. This individual [accused] is a suspect at this juncture. The police or the administration is behaving just like the choose, jury and the executor and is punishing the individual,” she informed Al Jazeera.

Majeed Memon, former parliamentarian and high legal lawyer, agreed.

“Even when assuming that anyone has finished some crime of rioting or another crime, the chief minister or any of the individuals from the administration has no proper to punish,” he informed Al Jazeera.

Memon stated an accused must be offered earlier than a court docket of legislation. “Finally it’s the court docket that can determine the character and quantum of punishment,” he stated.

“This sort of so-called immediate justice is much like mob lynching.”

‘Bulldozer Mama’

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Chouhan is standard in his state as “Mama” (maternal uncle).

Shivraj Singh Chouhan
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh [File: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters]

Nevertheless, he’s now being referred to as “Bulldozer Mama” by his supporters – a play on “Bulldozer Baba” that his counterpart Yogi Adityanath is known as in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

“The homes of poor individuals have been burned in Khargone. They need to not fear as ‘Mama’ will construct their homes. We’ll get better from those that burned their homes,” Chouhan was quoted as saying by ANI information company throughout a rally in state capital Bhopal on Thursday.

Final month, a billboard got here up in Bhopal that stated: “Anybody who dares idiot round with the honour of sisters and daughters, the bulldozer will attain his door. Whoever tries to be a deterrent within the safety of daughters, Mama’s bulldozer would be the hammer.”

In its assertion, Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind referred to as the demolitions a “merciless act”.

“It’s noteworthy that the politics of bulldozers is already occurring in Uttar Pradesh, however now this nefarious act has began in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh as effectively,” it stated.

New Delhi-based educational and activist Apoorvaanand stated there’s an “inner competitors inside the BJP” and its varied chief ministers on “who’s extra virulent than the others”.

“They [masses] need immediate justice. That is the bottom intuition the BJP is interesting to and they’re destroying the very thought of legislation and justice,” he informed Al Jazeera.

“That is the top of the rule of legislation which is most worrisome.”

Kashif Kakvi contributed to this report from Madhya Pradesh, India