June 4, 2014 By Michael Florio
Several Muslims are nervous about their safety in Astoria following a series of recent attacks.
Five members of the Masjid Al Ikhlas mosque, located at 21-23 30th Drive, attended the 114th police precinct community meeting last week, and said that they had been subject to a series of assaults and were worried that they might be racially motivated.
Badron Kahn, who worships at the mosque, told Deputy Inspector Kevin Maloney that several members had been attacked and robbed recently.
“I think they are targeting the South Asian community,” Kahn said. She said she was not certain that the group was being singled out —or whether it was just a series of random events– but those who attend the mosque feel unsafe.
One victim, Manik Chowdauri, who attended the meeting, said he was grabbed from behind and placed in a headlock while walking to his Crescent Street home on May 16 at around 12:30 am. The headlock rendered him unconscious.
Chowdauri said that when he woke up on the ground his money was missing.
“I am scared,” Chowdauri said. “I’ve been in the area since 1993 and I have never felt this way before.”
Meanwhile, Kahn said that a teenage member was walking home along Crescent Street when four other boys came along and beat him up for no apparent reason.
Kahn said that there had several other incidents, including one man who was attacked when he left the mosque one evening.
Kahn said the members are scared for their safety, especially with Ramadan beginning June 28th. During the holiday month the members will be attending the mosque more frequently.
Maloney told Kahn to make sure that the group reports all these incidents. He said the precinct was willing to send someone out to the mosque to make security suggestions, such as increased lighting.
Maloney asked Kahn for the Ramadan schedule so the precinct could send a patrol car over.
“No one should have to feel unsafe in their own community,” Maloney said.