Press Releases

CAIR-NY Welcomes Life Sentence for Oscar Morel in Queens Double Homicide

Morel was convicted in March of killing two Muslim men in case that gained global attention

(NEW YORK, NY, 6/6/18) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the state’s leading Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Oscar Morel for the 2016 double murder of Imam Maulana Ala’Uddin Akonjee and Thara Uddin.

On August 13, 2016, the two Muslim men were killed as they returned home from prayers at their local mosque. The brutal crime, which corresponded with a nationwide surge in anti-Muslim hate crimes, triggered massive demonstrations in the men’s Ozone Park neighborhood and gained worldwide media attention.

Morel was convicted on March 23 on one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of murder in the second degree, and criminal possession of a firearm.

SEE: CAIR-NY Welcomes Conviction of Oscar Morel for Queens Double Homicide

CAIR-New York serves as civil counsel and media representative for the Akonjee and Uddin families.

In response to the verdict, CAIR-New York Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn said:

“Rather than explaining what drove these hateful murders, Mr. Morel has done nothing more than divert attention through his fantasies and fairy tales about conspiracies against him.  The facts of this case are painfully clear: two of our Muslim neighbors were gunned down in broad daylight, in the middle of New York City, while doing nothing more than walking home from prayers.  Today, the court showed that our Muslim neighbors are protected by the full force of the law, that they cannot be attacked without the perpetrators being brought to justice.

The civil rights organization also released the following statement on behalf of the Aknojee and Uddin families:

“Today’s verdict brought justice, but not closure.  Our families, communities, and city will never fully heal from the wound Mr. Morel inflicted.  This horrific murder reverberated around the world, shocking Muslims and allies who could not believe that two men, including an Imam, could be murdered in cold blood, on a sunny New York street.”

The 2016 double murder came amidst a spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes across New York State. CAIR-NY noted a 974% increase in such reports from 2015 to 2017.

SEE: CAIR-NY Reports 74% Increase in Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes Since Trump’s Election

Press Release: Civil Rights Report 2017

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.


Contact: CAIR-NY Legal Director Albert Fox Cahn; 571-766-6273;


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