NEWARK, NJ – A prominent community figure, Imam Hassan Sharif, was killed after being shot outside Masjid Muhammad, his mosque in Newark, New Jersey. The incident occurred on Wednesday morning, and although Sharif was rapidly transported to a local hospital, he succumbed to his injuries later in the day.
Apart from leading his congregation at the mosque, Sharif had been serving as a transportation security officer at Newark Liberty International Airport since 2006. The Transportation Security Administration expressed its deep sadness upon hearing of Sharif’s passing and extended condolences to his family, friends, and coworkers.
The mosque where the gunfire broke out, Masjid Muhammad-Newark, is a significant part of the local community. At approximately 6 a.m., calls reporting the shooting led authorities to the scene. The incident is currently under investigation, with Newark police taking the lead.
Although there’s no evidence to suggest that bias or domestic terrorism fueled the attack, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin confirmed that investigators are examining all prospects. The authorities aim to exhaust all resources to unravel the cause of this tragic incident.
The shooting incident has raised concerns in the Muslim community, which has recently experienced an increase in bias incidents and crimes. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy communicated his support for the community and emphasized the crucial importance of keeping residents safe, especially near houses of worship.
The Sheriff’s Office of Essex County, where the incident took place, is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone who is able to provide information leading to a breakthrough in the case.
Sharif’s mosque was part of Newark’s “safe surrender” program, which uses places of worship to create areas where individuals under warrant can peacefully surrender. Newark Public Safety Director Fritz G. Fragé recognized Sharif for his contributions to the city and its safety, dubbing his death a profound loss.