Albuquerque Police, the FBI, and New Mexico State Police asked the public on Sunday for any tips they might have regarding the recent killings of four Muslim men.
Aftab Hussein, 41, was shot on July 26, Muhammad Aafzaal Hussain, 27, was shot on August 1, and a third victim, described as being in his mid-20s from South Asia, was killed on Friday. Law enforcement officials say the three killings might be connected to the November murder of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, outside of his business. The four men all attended the Islamic Center of New Mexico.
Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, told The New York Times there is a "sort of managed panic" among members, who have been asked to use a buddy system when going out in public. "I do watch my back and get in the car," he said. "I'm watching all my surroundings. You don't know whether they're following you from the mosque, if they're actually watching people going in and out of the mosque and following them elsewhere. The pattern is unknown."
Police have said they do not want to refer to the killings as hate crimes, because not enough is known about the motive. Brian Levin, director of California State University San Bernardino's Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, told the Times that anti-Muslim hate crimes in the U.S. have been on the decline, but in 2021, all hate crimes rose by more than 20 percent.