People gather for a demonstration near a crime scene where 55-year-old Imam Maulama Akonjee and his 64-year-old associate, Tharam Uddin, were shot in the back of the head left the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park section of Queens in New York City on Aug. 13, 2016, .
Craig Ruttleā€”AP
By Mahita Gajanan
August 14, 2016

Following the shooting of a New York City mosque leader and an associate, people are offering to accompany Muslims to and from the mosque so they can pray in safety.

Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and his associate Thara Uddin, 64, were fatally shot in the back of the head as they left Al-Furqan Jame Masjid in Queens on Saturday.

Although police said so far no motive has been established, and that there is no reason to believe they were shot because they were Muslim, neighborhood leaders, religious leaders and mosque-regulars gathered to express their fear that the shooting was a hate crime.

Online, many non-Muslims across the country used the hashtag #IllWalkWithYou to indicate they would walk with Muslims to and from the mosque to protect them while they pray.

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