A gunman shot and killed an imam and his assistant on the street near their mosque in a working-class corner of Queens on Saturday afternoon, the police said.
The police said the imam, whom they identified as Maulama Akonjee, 55, and the assistant, Thara Uddin, 64, were shot shortly before 2 p.m. near the mosque, Al-Furqan Jame Masjid, in the Ozone Park neighborhood.
Officers found them with gunshot wounds to their heads when they arrived at the scene, at the corner Liberty Avenue and 79th Street. The police said that both men were taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where they died.
The crime, during a wave of anti-Muslim hostility across the country, unsettled many in the neighborhood, an enclave that area leaders described as a growing hub of Muslim families from Bangladesh that straddles the border between Brooklyn and Queens.
The two men had just left a prayer session at the mosque, according to Misba Abdin, 47, who attends the mosque and is a leader of an area nonprofit that works with Bangladeshi residents. Mr. Abdin and other congregants said that Mr. Akonjee, originally from Bangladesh, lived in the area.
Members of the Bangladeshi Muslim community served by the mosque said they want the shootings to be treated as a hate crime.