Over the span of the last two weeks, three Muslim men have been shot and killed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Additionally, detectives are working to determine whether the November killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim man in Albuquerque, was also related. Mohammad Ahmadi, 62 and the other victims, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, Aftab Hussein, 41, and Naeem Hussain, 25, have one commonality: all are Muslim and of South Asian descent. Law enforcement officials believe these attacks may be linked.
These horrific attacks have put the entire city on edge and alarmed the city’s Muslim community. The FBI is assisting the Albuquerque Police Department, but have not yet made any arrests.
As details continue to unfold, the shootings highlight the continued prevalence of hate crimes in the U.S. and the importance of disarming hate. According to Professor Brian Levin of the California State University at San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Muslim hate crimes rose more than 20 percent in 2021 and have increased another 4.7 percent in the first half of 2022.
Additionally, 15 percent of hate crimes reported in 2020 were motivated by anti-religious bias. These numbers are likely undercounts as hate crime victimization is notoriously under-reported, both by victims and by law enforcement. Hate motivated violence is not the only form of gun violence impacting the AAPI community. Data from the CDC shows that young Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have the fastest-growing firearm suicide rate of any racial/ethnic group, increasing 168% from 2011 to 2020.
Gun violence is also the leading cause of death for children and teens in New Mexico. Every year, over 433 New Mexicans are shot and killed and nearly 618 are wounded. Gun violence costs New Mexico $6.6 billion each year, of which $141.8 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in New Mexico is available here.
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