International desk – Two Bangladeshi nationals, including an Imam of a mosque, were gunned down in New York City soon after they left the mosque following afternoon prayers on Saturday.
The unidentified assailant approached from behind and shot them both in the head, a police spokesman said.
The Imam, Alauddin Akonjee, 55, moved to New York from Bangladesh two years ago, according to local media reports.
Police said there were as yet “no indications” the men were targeted because of their faith.
A man holding a gun was seen leaving the scene of the shooting in the Ozone Park area, but no-one has been arrested.
Police said the suspect had a “medium complexion”.
Bangladeshi community in New York staged demonstration against the killing asking the authorities for proper investigation.
Akonjee and his assistant Thara Uddin, 64, were shot a short walk from the al-Furqan Jame mosque at about 13:50 local time on Saturday.
“He would not hurt a fly,” Imam Akonjee’s nephew Rahi Majid, told the New York Daily News. “You would watch him come down the street and watch the peace he brings.”
Friends of Akonjee told media that he had just left the mosque after prayers when he was shot. The mosque serves the large Bangladeshi community in Ozone Park.
Some of those attending the protest rally said the shooting was a hate crime, although police said they were still investigating the motive.
Milat Uddin, who offers prayers worships at the mosque, told Associated Press that the authorities should treat the killing as a hate crime.
“We feel really insecure and unsafe in a moment like this,” he told CBS New York. “It’s really threatening to us, threatening to our future, threatening to our mobility in our neighbourhood, and we’re looking for the justice.”