FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CAIR-NY Welcomes Conviction of Oscar Morel for Queens Double Homicide
Morel was convicted of killing two Muslim men in case that gained global attention
(NEW YORK, NY, 3/23/18) - The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the state's leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the conviction of Oscar Morel for the 2016 double homicide of Imam Maulana Ala'Uddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin.
On August 13, 2016, the two Muslim men were killed as they returned home from prayers at their local mosque. The brutal crime, which corresponded with a nationwide surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes, triggered massive demonstrations in the men's Ozone Park neighborhood and gained worldwide media attention.
Morel was convicted on one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of murder in the second degree, and criminal possession of a firearm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 18 and faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Charges Against Alleged Killer of Queens Imam and Associate, Urges Hate Crime Probe
CAIR-New York serves as civil counsel and media representative for the Akonjee and Uddin families. The civil rights organization released the following statement on behalf of the Aknojee and Uddin families:
"We are grateful that Mr. Morel has been brought to justice for this horrific crime. Maulana and Thara came to this country in search of a better life, instead they found Mr. Morel's hatred. Nothing can ever replace what Mr. Morel took from us, but this verdict helps show that this city will never accept this sort of heartbreaking violence."
In a statement, CAIR-New York Executive Director Afaf Nasher said:
"It has been over a year and a half since the double murders of Imam Akonjee and Mr. Uddin. Many lives have been seriously impacted with the grief and continuing consequences of losing their loved ones. We pray that the conclusion of this trial allows the healing process to begin."
CAIR-New York Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said:
"We congratulate the Queens County District Attorney for bringing Mr. Morel to justice for his heinous crimes. In recent years, as we saw unprecedented hate crimes against Muslim New Yorkers, this attack stood out for its singular cruelty. It is intolerable to think that our neighbors can be gunned down in broad daylight, in the middle of New York City, simply walking home from prayers."
The verdict came less than a week after the New York civil rights organization announced a settlement on behalf of a wrongfully terminated Muslim employee and comes amid a surge in anti-Muslim harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes in New York State. CAIR-NY noted a 974% increase in such reports from 2015 to 2017.
SEE: CAIR-NY Reports 74% Increase in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since Trump's Election
Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017
CAIR's mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn, email@example.com, 571-766-6273