McDonald’s Malaysia sues over Israel boycott calls

McDonald’s Malaysia sues over Israel boycott calls
McDonald’s Malaysia sues over Israel boycott calls

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - CHICAGO: New Jersey prosecutor Attorney General Matthew Platkin vowed at a press conference here to find the assailant involved in the Jan. 3 shooting of Hassan Sharif, 52, the imam of the Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque.

Platkin and other New Jersey law enforcement officials said they do not believe, at this stage of the probe, that the killing was motivated by Islamophobia but insisted the investigation into identifying the killer was moving forward.

The shooter was dressed in all-black clothing and was seen by witnesses in the mosque running from the scene after the attack on Sharif which occurred at around 6:15 in the morning, police said. 

“Imam Sharif is just the latest casualty in the senseless gun-violence epidemic that plagues our state and our country. Combatting the gun-violence epidemic is our core priority in my office and law enforcement throughout the state,” Platkin said at a media briefing Thursday.

“We will bring these perpetrators to justice and we will do so, there is nothing we can do to bring Imam Sharif back to his loved ones and to his community.”

So far, no suspect has been identified.

Speaking about the impact the killing has had on the region’s Muslim community, Platkin said: “That wound, tragically, will never fully heal. And because of that we must collectively redouble our efforts to end this senseless gun-violence epidemic and do everything we can to spare future families the pain that Imam Sharif’s loved ones are enduring right now.”

Platkin said the probe “remains an active criminal investigation” but does not indicate any form of religious or racial bias. That could change as the investigation progresses.

Other sources including Democracy Now! reported that Sharif was assaulted last August.

Platkin acknowledged seeing a “rise in violence particularly against the Muslim community.”

The congregation of Masjid Muhammad-Newark is predominantly African American and located in an African-American community. Sharif’s murder is the second violent attack on an imam in New Jersey recently.

Imam Sayed Elnakib, 65, the imam at the Omar Mosque in Paterson, about 15 miles north of Newark, was stabbed in his back in April 2023 while leading prayers. After the assault, congregants restrained the knife-wielding assailant, identified as Serif Zorba, 32, until police arrived. Zorba has been charged with attempted murder.

The Council on American Islamic Relations of New Jersey announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailant. Crime Stoppers USA, a national organization, has offered a $25,000 reward.

Sharif’s killing drew condolences from across the nation.

The Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles said: “MPAC sends its prayers to the Newark Muslim community following Wednesday’s tragic shooting that claimed the life of Masjid Muhammad Imam Hassan Sharif. Imam Sharif served selflessly, working to build bridges of understanding between faith communities.”

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth, who has been criticized for her alleged lack of empathy toward the killing of Muslims and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, issued a statement expressing condolences to Sharif’s family and concern about the rise in gun violence in America.

“The fatal shooting of Imam Hassan Sharif is devastating. My heart is with the Muslim community in New Jersey — which is already facing an alarming rise in Islamophobia — his loved ones and all who were inspired by his leadership,” Duckworth said on X.

Platkin, the attorney general, had earlier joined New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy in announcing the state’s first-ever Muslim-American Heritage Month.

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