Husband of slain Queens woman speaks out; Muslim community fears murder was hate crime

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QUEENS -- A grieving husband of the woman stabbed to death while walking in Queens this week is speaking out as the Muslim-American community fears the murder was a hate crime.

Shamsul Khanam, a retired physics professor, is still processing the raw emotion that comes with watching his wife of 40 years die in his arms.

"Then I heard the violent sound of my wife, he says, 'I'm getting die! They kill me! I am getting die! They killed me,'" said Khanam, who uses the pronouns "he" and "him" instead of "she" and "her" when referring to his late wife, Nazma Khanam.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to provide financial assistance and cover funeral costs.

Khanam, 60, was walking with her husband on Normal Road in Jamaica Hills about 9 p.m. Wednesday when someone approached and stabbed her. Khanam's husband wasn't able to save her because she was reportedly walking ahead of him when the attack happened.

Khanam, who is also the aunt of an NYPD officer, later died at the hospital.

Khanam and his son Naimul sat down to speak with PIX11 in front of their home Friday afternoon, shortly before the family left for Khanam’s funeral.

"He could not speak," Khanam cried. "His tooth were vibrating. His eyes towards me, trying to say something. He could not speak. Then one minute later, her head, he lay on the ground, the grass."

The 75-year-old Bangladeshi-American says he did not see any suspicious characters during their seemingly ordinary walk home two nights before, when some ambushed his wife, and fatally stabbed her on a quiet residential street.

"I cannot understand what happened. Why happened," Khanam said.

The first solid lead, surveillance video from a neighboring home in Jamaica Hills, Queens, showing a person of interest detectives would like to question.

"I saw her walking down, holding her chest with her left hand," said Afjal, who heard her screams. "I don't know why someone would target a 60-year-old woman, nevertheless. I don't know what to think of it."

Khanam’s killer did not take anything from her and so far the NYPD says the Hate Crimes Task Force is only assisting detectives’ homicide investigation.

But there is a growing sentiment within this Muslim-American community that Khanam’s murder was a bias crime..

"All the Muslims cannot be blamed," said Mohammad Rahman, President of Jamaica Muslim Center.

Outside the Jamaica Muslim Center, several speakers, including Khanam’s nephew Humayun Kabir, who is an NYPD Transit officer, expressed their desire for justice.

"As much as my Bangladeshi community, I want the same," said Kabir.

"I would like to tell those evil people who have been doing this in our community, the last few weeks especially," Rahman said. "We are here to stay. We are here to build the community."