Killing Of Muslim Men In US' New Mexico A Case Of Shia-Sunni Sectarian Violence, Not Islamophobia
Earlier, the reports suggested that the attacks might have been a case of violence motivated by Islamophobia.
However, now, it has emerged that the victims were targeted by a Sunni Muslim man for being Shia.
On Tuesday (10 August), police in Albuquerque, New Mexico, nabbed the “primary suspect” in the killings of four local Muslim men.
Earlier, the reports suggested that the attacks might have been a case of violence motivated by Islamophobia. However, now, it has emerged that the victims were targeted by a Sunni Muslim man for being Shia.
According to a press release mentioned by the New York Post, authorities charged a 51 year old named Muhammad Syed for two of the four homicides.
A report by the New York Times quotes Ahmed Assed, president of the Islamic Centre of New Mexico, saying that Syed, a Sunni Muslim, was upset that his daughter married someone who is a Shia Muslim.
Chief Harold Medina of the Albuquerque Police Department stated that it would not be appropriate to label the killings as hate crime.
The Times report states that police officials are not yet sure if a dispute over a marriage was the sole reason that motivated Syed.
As per Commander Hartsock, the police found several guns at Syed’s home and one in the car he was driving. They believe two of the weapons were connected to the killings.
As of now, the police are continuing to run tests on other firearms from Syed. There is also a suspicion that Syed might have been involved in two additional killings that occurred in November 2021.
Syed is an immigrant from Afghanistan and he has lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for around five to six years.
"Sunni and Shiite Muslims differ in their beliefs over who was the proper successor to the Prophet Muhammad when he died nearly 1,400 years ago, a foundational dispute that today drives rivalries over religion, territory and political power. The conflict has fueled sectarian violence in several countries, including Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan, but it has been rare in the United States," reads the report.
Albuquerque has witnessed hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan settle in the city over the past year. Especially since the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan.
Many of the city’s Muslim community hail from Pakistan and Afghanistan, while others are from countries such as India, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
During the Trump administration, officials in New Mexico passed a bill affirming Albuquerque’s status as an “immigrant friendly” city. This bill restricted federal immigration agents from entering city-operated facilities and city employees from collecting immigration status information, making the city a safe haven.
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