Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

My quest for a motive behind the killing of Muslim men

On the night of Aug. 1, my world turned upside down in a matter of a few seconds when a police detective called me to give me the news of the horrible death of my younger brother, Afzaal Hussain. I do not think I will ever be able to get over this loss, and I will probably carry this pain with me to my grave. However, I am bringing myself to write these lines as an act of hope that I will soon be able to know the real motive behind this tragedy.

Afzaal’s death, along with the killings of two other Muslim men, Aftab Hussain and Naeem Hussain, has left the Muslim community in Albuquerque in a state of panic and looking for answers. Law enforcement agencies have yet to provide any clear information about the motive behind these killings. The lack of information has sparked media speculations, which have not been helpful.

According to some news stories, the suspect, a Sunni Muslim, targeted my brother and other Muslim men since they belonged to the Shia Muslim sect. Nothing could be further from the truth because my younger brother did not even belong to the Shia sect. More importantly, why did the suspect target some random hard-working young Muslim men and not prominent Shia personalities in Albuquerque if his acts were really motivated by anti-Shia hatred?

Another speculation suggests these individuals were targeted because they may have helped the suspect’s daughter in getting married to a Shia man, going against his will. I find it very hard to believe this because the suspect spared his son-in-law but chose to go against these individuals who only supposedly helped? Furthermore, to the best of my knowledge, my brother did not even know the suspect’s son-in-law and had absolutely no role in his marriage.

The pattern of killings suggests that it took a lot of planning on the part of the killer. My brother was ambushed with two weapons including a pistol and an assault rifle with over two dozen rounds. This raises several key questions and concerns in my mind: (1) How was a refugee family, living on social assistance, able to buy expensive assault weapons? (2) One of the suspect’s sons told investigators he was with his father when they bought guns/gun accessories. This raises questions about the possible role of others. (3) The killing of my brother in an ambush-style shooting suggests this has to be the work of someone with extreme hatred against my brother, which cannot be explained with such speculations.

Finding the motive and answers to my questions will not only bring some peace to my hurting heart but also help us prevent similar tragedies in the future. The Albuquerque Police Department and the FBI have done a commendable job so far, and I hope they will not rest until we know the real motive behind these killings. I cannot bring my brother back, but I will continue to complete his mission to establish a modern school for a poor community in his hometown.

Comments are closed.