SHAFAQNA – Hundreds of people have gathered at a New York mosque to hold a funeral for a Bangladeshi woman, who was stabbed to death in what they denounced as a hate crime.
The crowd gathered at the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens on Friday to mourn 60-year old Nazma Khanam, who was killed on Wednesday night.
Khanam was wearing a headscarf, when she was stabbed several times by an unidentified assailant.
Her husband, Shamsul Alam Khan, who was walking a few feet behind her, due to inability for having asthma, said his wife screamed that “somebody killed me!” He then found a four-inch blade sticking out of Khanam’s body.
Police have not yet identified the killer. Members of the Bangladeshi community and the wider Muslim community say the incident was a hate crime.
During the funeral ceremony, several of the attendees called for an increased police presence, and “more security.”
“This was not a robbery and though we do not know all the facts, the reality is this is happening too often,” said public advocate Letitia James.
Several other public officials also attended the funeral along with James.
Just few weeks ago, a Bangladeshi Muslim cleric, Maulama Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin, were shot in the head as they were walking home from midday prayers at a mosque in Queens. Both were dressed in Muslim garb, when they were attacked on August 13.
The executive director of the New York chapter for the Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR) described the shooting death of the two Muslim men as hate crime.
“You can’t go up to a person and shoot them in the head and not be motivated by hatred,” said Afaf Nasher.
Last week, Queens Supreme Court charged 36-year-old Oscar Morel with first- and second-degree murder, as well as criminal weapons possession for the murder of the two men.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) hate crime statistics, 2015 had seen more incidents of hate crimes against Muslims than any other year since September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Georgetown’s Bridge Initiative study found.