Master of Arts (MA)
“Fighting for Justice”
This feature documentary focuses on how the criminal justice system is reluctant to charge people with a ‘hate crime.’
Imam Maulana Akonjee and his assistant, Thara Uddin were shot last year in broad daylight in Queens. Fighting for justice follows the Akonjee family, focusing on their son Saif. Since losing his father, Saif has been thrust into a new role, as head of household to this devastated family. Deferring his dreams for a career — Saif is responsible for taking care of his mother, siblings and their children.
The film follows the Akonjees as they wait for the impending trial against Imam’s alleged killer. They say their father’s murder should be treated as an anti-Muslim hate crime. The accused – Oscar Morel – was charged with first degree murder and a criminal weapons possession. The Akonjees say justice won’t be served until he’s also charged with a ‘hate crime.’ The local community in Ozone Park, Queens, echoed their sentiment.
The film highlights an increase in hate crimes against the Muslim community.
Last year the U.S. saw a rise in hate crimes specifically targeting Muslims, according to the FBI. More than 6,100 hate crimes were reported to the FBI in 2016, but 307 of those were incidents of anti-Muslim hate. This 19 percent higher than the previous year.
Thapa, Anuz, "Fighting for Justice" (2017). CUNY Academic Works.