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Second hate crime targets Kews Gardens Hills mosque

By Joe Anuta

A Kew Gardens Hills mosque was the target of another hate crime Friday, police said, just five months after a 57-year-old man was stabbed at the same site in an early morning anti-Muslim attack.

In the latest incident, a man left the Masjid al-Saaliheen mosque, located at 72-55 Kissena Blvd., at about 8 p.m. when he noticed someone following his car in a dark SUV, police said.

When the mosque-goer stopped for a red light at the corner of Union Turnpike and 199th Street, the suspect pulled up beside him in an SUV and flashed a firearm while shouting death threats and anti-Muslim statements, according to police. The suspect then fled the scene.

Police released a sketch in connection with the crime, describing the suspect as a mustachioed man in his late 50s with a light complexion, dark hair and wearing a dark suit jacket with an emblem patch on the left pocket. He may have been driving a Toyota SUV.

This was not the mosque’s first brush with violence.

A similar incident happened in November, according to police, when a 57-year-old man was stabbed while he was opening the house of worship.

On Nov. 18 Bashir Amad was preparing Masjid al-Saaliheen for morning prayers at about 5 a.m. when police say he was beaten, bitten and stabbed by a suspect police described as a 6-foot white man between the ages of 35 and 45 weighing 180 pounds.

According to the NYPD, the man also shouted anti-Muslim statements before the ambush.

In the wake of the November attack, religious leaders from across Flushing and City Comptroller John Liu held a news conference to express solidarity and religious tolerance.

“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Imam Shamsi Ali said at the time. Ali had gathered Hindu and Jewish leaders from the ethnically diverse neighborhood to all speak about peace near the scene of the crime.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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