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NEW YORK – Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago has affirmed that the nation’s “Catholic community stands in support of our Muslim brothers and sisters,” after the killing of four Muslim men in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“As chairman of the national Catholic-Muslim dialogue, I have been blessed to walk on the journey of dialogue and friendship with our Muslim neighbors from around the United States,” Cupich said in an Aug. 11 statement. “We join you in your sorrow and promise you a remembrance in our prayers.”
The primary suspect of the killings, Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested late on Aug. 8. Syed has been charged with two of the killings and is a suspect in the other two deaths. The Afghan immigrant has denied any connection to the crimes.
Investigators, however, have said they have evidence to prove his guilt. Police have determined that bullet casings found in Syed’s vehicle match the caliber of weapons believed to have been used in two of the killings, according to the criminal complaint. Bullet casings found at the crime scenes were also linked to guns found at Syed’s home and in his vehicle, the complaint says.
Investigators said a motive hasn’t yet been determined.
The first of the four people fatally shot was Mohammad Ahmandi, 62, an immigrant from Afghanistan. He was killed in November 2021.
The other three victims were killed between July 26 and Aug. 5. The three men are Naeem Hussain, 25; Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27; and Aftab Hussein, 41. All are from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.
Cupich’s remarks echo an Aug. 7 Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, statement that said “the senseless murders of these upstanding members of our community bring sorrow to us all.”
“We are fervently praying for the safety of all in the Muslim community and are asking our loving God to keep them sage and watch over them,” the statement continued. “Our hearts go out to those who have been killed and to those who lost loved ones. We pray that our loving God will take them quickly to Himself.”
Cupich also cited Pope Francis’s encyclical Fratelli Tutti. In particular, an observation of the bishops of India: “The goal of dialogue is to establish friendship, peace, harmony, and to share spiritual and moral values and experiences in a spirit of truth and love.”
“May all people of good will work together to deliver our communities from all forms of violence so that we might enjoy the gift of God’s peace,” Cupich concluded.
Follow John Lavenburg on Twitter: @johnlavenburg