NEW YORK – The shooting of an imam and his assistant near their New York mosque has unnerved Muslim residents of the Ozone Park section of Queens.
Police are still investigating a motive, but some residents say they are sure the killings were a hate crime aimed at the Bangladeshi Muslims who have moved into the neighborhood alongside longtime Hispanic residents.
Many Ozone Park residents say the imam’s death shouldn’t be taken as evidence of a rift between the culturally diverse groups that share the streets.
Neighborhood resident Sumona Kazi says Ozone Park’s various immigrant groups are a united family.
Danny Perez says when Bangladeshis first started arriving in the neighborhood, teenagers from both sides would get into fights.
But he says those old tensions are a thing of the past.