Northwest Indiana restaurant owner Naseeb Mohammed attended prayer services at his mosque on Friday, where local and federal law enforcement officers assured Muslims that they would be on guard against hate crimes as the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approached.

Mohammed, 60, of Munster, Ind., was killed the next morning as he prepared lentil soup in his Middle Eastern restaurant, Aladdin Pita, in Merrillville. Employees arriving at about 10 a.m. found him dead of a gunshot wound, police said.

Police said they do not know whether the slaying is a hate crime. They said no evidence, such as vandalism, was found to suggest a hate crime.

But Mohammed’s sons insisted hate must have been a motive because only $150 was taken from the restaurant even though more was available. They also said it does not make sense to rob a restaurant in the morning before it opens, when more money would be available after closing.

“This is someone who wanted to bring grief to the Muslim community, and that’s what they did,” said his son Bassam Mohammed, 25.

“This is just another act of terror,” said his oldest son, Ghassan Mohammed, 28.


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