On January 3rd, a somber cloud descended over Newark, New Jersey, following the tragic shooting of Imam Hassan Sharif outside Masjid Muhammad. The incident, which occurred in the early hours of the morning, has left the community grappling with grief and seeking justice.
Imam Sharif, a respected figure in Newark and a Transportation Security Officer at Newark Liberty International Airport, was found critically injured with multiple gunshot wounds near the mosque entrance. Despite being rushed to University Hospital, he tragically succumbed to his injuries.
The Essex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers Program and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) New Jersey chapter have collectively offered a $35,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. The shooting has raised concerns within the community, particularly among members of the New Jersey Muslim community.
Dina Sayedahmed, a spokesperson for CAIR-NJ, expressed the community’s shock and concern, emphasizing Imam Sharif’s significant role as a unifying figure. The lack of a suspect or person of interest more than 24 hours after the incident has heightened these concerns.
Imam Sharif was known for his contributions beyond his religious duties, including his involvement in community welfare programs. He was a familiar and beloved figure, often seen participating in city council meetings and community events.
The investigation, led by Newark police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, continues, with officials stating there is no current indication that the crime was motivated by bias. However, the community remains on edge as the search for answers and justice persists.
Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, in a statement, condemned the violence and expressed the city’s solidarity with Imam Sharif’s family and the Muslim community. He emphasized that such acts of violence are unacceptable, regardless of the motivation behind them.
As the Newark community mourns the loss of Imam Sharif, his legacy of service, faith, and community advocacy remains a beacon of hope and unity. The tragic end of this community leader has not only left a void in the hearts of many but also a resounding call for peace and justice in the face of senseless violence.