A Bangladeshi woman was fatally stabbed on a Queens, New York, sidewalk late Wednesday night, police said, prompting some Muslim groups to ask authorities to investigate the killing as a possible hate crime.
Nazma Khanam, 60, was walking home with her husband around 9:15 p.m. ET in Jamaica, Queens, when she suffered a stab wound to her torso, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD) and published reports. Her husband, who has asthma and was with her, had to slow his pace and was behind Khanam when she was attacked, according to the New York Daily News.
Officers arrived and found Khanam unconscious, police said. She was brought to Jamaica Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
The New York Daily News reported that Khanam’s cellphone, pocketbook, and bag were not taken. The NYPD Muslim Officers Society sent out a tweet last night, reporting her death. Khanam’s nephew, identified by the paper as Humayun Kabir, is an NYPD officer.
No arrests have been made, and the investigation was ongoing, police said. An NYPD spokeswoman told NBC News the motive was still under investigation.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil liberties and advocacy nonprofit, said Khanam was wearing Islamic attire at the time of the attack.
“Because of the recent killings of Muslims in Queens, and because of the growing number of anti-Muslim incidents nationwide resulting from the increasing Islamophobia in American society, we urge the NYPD to investigate a possible bias motive for this murder,” CAIR-NY executive director Afaf Nasher said in a statement.
The Association of Muslim American Lawyers said it welcomed steps toward a thorough investigation.
“We were heartened to learn that the New York Police Department (NYPD) has immediately sent Hate Crimes detectives to the scene of this heinous crime to carry out an objective investigation in this case,” association board member Iman Boukadoum said in a statement.
The stabbing comes a little less than three weeks after a Queens imam and his associate were fatally shot in broad daylight after leaving prayer services at their mosque.
Oscar Morel, 36, has pleaded not-guilty to a five-count indictment, including first-degree murder, in the deaths of Imam Maulana Akonjee and his friend, Thara Uddin.
The Bangladeshi and Muslim communities have called for hate-crime charges in the double-homicide. But Morel’s alleged motive still remains unclear, authorities have said.