Suspected Killer of NY Imam Expected in Court

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The suspected killer of an imam and his friend is expected to appear in court later Tuesday.

Oscar Morel, 35, who has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting deaths of Imam Maulana Alauddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin near the Al-Furqan Jame mosque in the Ozone Park neighborhood of Queens, New York, is set to appear for an arraignment.

The victims were of Bangladeshi descent, and their murder took place on a very busy street, and in broad daylight.

Morel was brought into custody on Sunday night in Brooklyn, police said. His motive for the shooting remains unknown at this time, but residents of the community are eagerly anticipating an answer.

The borough is known for being among the "most diverse places on Earth," and boasts a robust and growing Muslim population.

The area surrounding Al-Furqan Jame mosque, located about 10 miles south of Citi Field, home to the New York Mets, is home to a large Bangladeshi and South Asian population, but also large Hispanic, black, and Italian-American communities.

In the wake of the murders, demonstrators gathered demanding justice for the slain men, sparking fears of discord in an area typically celebrated by residents for being a peaceful melting pot.

The violence reminded some residents of the murder of photojournalist Mizanur Rahman, who was killed in the City Line area of Brooklyn, near Queens. Rahman's murder was believed to be the result of tensions between the Hispanic and Bangladeshi communities.

It is unknown at this time whether Morel knew Akonjee personally in any capacity prior to the shooting.

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