The Imam’s Widow
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The Imam’s Widow

Pro Publica |
September 5, 2018

As the wife of a Muslim religious leader, she came to America with uncertainty and hope. A suspected hate crime snuffed out the hope.


Every night, Alauddin Akonjee set the alarm clock in the bedroom of his home in Ozone Park, Queens, fearful he wouldn’t wake in time for morning prayer. And each morning, he and his wife, Minara, would be awake before the buzzer sounded.

Alauddin, a Muslim immigrant from Bangladesh, was the imam at the nearby mosque and devoted to his religious obligations. Minara, his wife of nearly 30 years, was devoted to making sure the imam met those obligations. She would lay his clothes out on the bed, and, after he’d gone off to the mosque, she’d make sure a lunch was ready for him, typically a meal of rice and curried fish.

But Alauddin and Minara had built more than a life of modest, familiar routines in their unassuming corner of America, a Queens neighborhood that has served as home to a succession of immigrant groups over the last century. Their children had gone to local schools and found jobs or started families of their own. The mosque where Alauddin served as imam, Al Furqan Jame Masjid, had more than doubled in size in recent years. Born in the basement of a house on Glenmore Avenue, it had grown to draw 100 or more congregants for Friday prayer, the entire mosque overflowing.

Credit by - Pro Publica

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