Imam shot outside mosque has died, police say

Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque
Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque

An imam who was shot outside of a New Jersey mosque Wednesday morning has died, authorities said.

The shooting occurred near the Masjid Muhammad-Newark mosque at around 6 a.m.

When officers arrived, they reportedly found the imam, later identified as Hassan Sharif, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Newark Public Safety Director Fritz Fragé said the victim was taken to a hospital, where he eventually died.

Police said they have not identified a motive for the shooting, but they do not believe Sharif was shot because of a "bias crime."

A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of a suspect.

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The Muslim community in the U.S. has been on edge over the past few months. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has been warning about increasing anti-Muslim sentiments.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Council says it has received more than 2,000 reports of bias. The organization notes that the figure represents a 172% increase over a similar period in 2022.

“From Burlington to Chicago to D.C. and elsewhere, innocent Americans are suffering the consequences of this wave of bigotry,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad.