On August 16, 2016, a New York City man named Oscar Morel was taken to court on charges of killing a Muslim cleric.
The man showed up in court on Tuesday but denied all charges against him. The charges include shooting and killing a Muslim cleric and an assistant.
The attack occurred in the borough of Queens over the weekend on Saturday. The event terrified the neighborhood’s Bangladeshi community.
According to Reuters, thirty-five-year-old Morel is facing life in prison without parole if the verdict convicts him of killing Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64.
Morel came to court wearing a tan button-down shirt with black pants. His arraignment took place at Queens Criminal Court on one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
“It’s the most horrendous and despicable act that can only be described as a cold-blooded and premeditated assassination,” prosecutor Peter McCormack said while talking to the court. “The defendant ran up behind both of them and pumped numerous bullets into them striking them both in the head … leaving them lying in the street mortally wounded.”
In reaction to Saturday’s killing, people have taken charge on Twitter to help Muslims feel safe, according to Huffington Post. However, police couldn’t find any evidence suggesting that people are being targeted because of their faith. Authorities have not ruled out the possibility as of now.
Twitter users made it a point to assure the Muslim community that they should not live in fear. Netizens said they would be happy to to protect Muslims by escorting them to mosques via the hashtag #IllWalkWithYou.
Previously, the same hashtag was used to show solidarity toward other groups that have been attacked. The hashtag was also used after Arab-German filmmaker Lexi Alexander tweeted her word to keep Muslim neighbors safe.
#illwalkwithyou in love and solidarity. Minneapolis, MN
— (((HappyWho))) (@StephSonksen) August 17, 2016
For those who tweet #IllWalkWithYou , thank you. It's really awesome guys. 😢😘
— Sean (@ayiemkudin) August 17, 2016
Seeing the #IllWalkWithYou tags and crying because god humanity really is a beautiful thing
— Amanda (@AHabrina) August 17, 2016
— Christina Coughlin (@coughlin582) August 17, 2016
— michał serwiński (@michalserwinski) August 17, 2016
— Mrs. Shanathan (@MrsShanathan) August 15, 2016
— PEDESTRIAN.TV (@pedestriandaily) August 14, 2016
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