Community ‘taken aback’ by arrest of Muhammad Syed


(NewsNation) — The Muslim community in Albuquerque is a smaller one — making the killings of four Muslim men all the more shocking, according to the president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico.

Ahmad Assed said during an appearance on “Morning in America” that the man arrested in connection with two of the killings and suspected of the other two, Muhammad Syed, 51, did not have a reputation of violence.

“We were taken aback,” Assed said. “I think if there’s going to be a surprise, it’s because he’s walked among our community.”

Assed said he didn’t know Syed but they greeted each other during prayers at the center. Normally, hundreds attend Friday prayer, he added.

“I remember seeing him, I know that he attended the mosque, and so did all four victims of various times as well,” Assed said.

Syed was taken into custody by the Albequrque police on Tuesday, with police saying Syed reportedly knew the victims and that an “interpersonal conflict may have led to the shootings.”

Authorities plan to charge him with two homicides, Albuquerque Police Department Chief Harold Medina said.

In an interview with NewsNation local affiliate KRQE News 13 , Syed’s wife and daughter insisted he’s innocent.

“I believe they will release my father. He didn’t do anything,” Lubna Syed, Muhammed Syed’s daughter, said.

Asked by NewsNation’s Mitch Carr what the response from other Muslims will be toward Syed’s family, as they might go to prayers and other events, Assed said they are still “members of this community.”

“If they’re innocent, they’re treated as such,” Assed said. “We believe in our judicial system, he is presumed innocent. We respect the opportunity for him to get due process…. we are steadfast in aiding law enforcement and the prosecuting authorities to proceed forthwith. We will be there to ensure that if he, in fact, is guilty of these crimes, that that he receives punishment to the fullest extent of the law.”

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