NYPD investigates assault inside Queens mosque as possible hate crime

Queens
This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

JAMAICA, Queens – The intrusion came in the middle of Tuesday’s afternoon prayers and without warning a man who just walked into the Jamaica Muslim Center.

After claiming that he was the Prophet Muhammad, he began randomly punching people who were on their knees in mid prayer Tuesday including a 69-year-old man and Akim Islam.

“He came behind us, and he hit one of our elders,” Islam said. “When he hit someone, we have no choice. We have to stop him. He hit me. One is very bad injured. He’s at the hospital.”

In the days since the attack, members of this Mosque have been fuming over the fact the suspect – identified as 26-year-old Michael Voyard, only faced a misdemeanor assault charge.

But now, that could change and Voyard could ultimately face more serious charges.

On Friday , three days after the attack, the NYPD confirmed its Hate Crimes Task force is now investigating.

For the president of the Mosque, that’s welcomed news.

“We are very peaceful community, we always come here without fear, and we never expect it,” mosque president Dr. Mohammad Rahman. “And we think this is a hate crime, to hurt Muslims.”

The incident clearly struck a nerve among members, who posted signs on the fence outside, pleading for tolerance and justice.

“The message is we have to live peacefully in harmony and peace,” Rahman said. “We cannot just hate somebody because of their race, religion or culture.”

Voyard was arrested and released but again the Hate Crimes Task Force now has the case.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Queens Videos

Coldplay at capacity: Concert kicks off live events in NYC

Couples still out thousands after venue shuts down

'Queens' comeback story is in motion': Borough president talks vaccinations

Lyft driver killed in Queens crash; 2nd driver arrested, police say

How rain gardens stop flooding and water pollution

Queens mom wants daughter's murder to change law

More Queens

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Don't Miss