Reform Movement Statement on the Murders of Imam Maulama Akonjee and Thara Uddin

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Press Release from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Washington, D.C., August 15, 2016 – In response to the murders of two Muslim men in Queens, NY on Saturday, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We are deeply distressed and saddened by the tragic murders of Imam Maulama Akonjee and his colleague Thara Uddin on Saturday. Though the motive behind the killings remains unclear, it is already evident that many members of the Muslim community in Ozone Park, Queens feel great concern about being targeted for their religion. Even the notion that the murders could be a hate crime reminds us of the tremendous work to be done to fulfill the vision of a nation where religious freedom and freedom from fear are realities rather than aspirations. We pray for comfort for the families of Imam Akonjee and Mr. Uddin and for strength for the entire community of which they were an integral part.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.