Business is booming.

Muhammad Syed: Suspected serial killer's daughter claims he has an alibi

Muhammad Syed, 51, denies that he committed the four murders in Albuquerque

Muhammad Syed, 51, denies that he committed the four murders in Albuquerque

The daughter of the Afghan immigrant accused of murdering four other Muslim men in New Mexico is insisting on his innocence, even as records reveal the suspect’s long history of alleged violence against his own family as well as strangers.

Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested Monday after a traffic stop more than 100 miles from his home in Albuquerque, where he is suspected in four fatal shootings that took place between November and August. 

Syed denied any connection to the crimes that shook the city and its small Muslim community, raising fears of a hate-crime spree — but which police now say may have been driven by personal grudges.

His daughter told CNN that Syed knew several of the slain men, but insisted that her father was at home at the time of the shootings, without offering any proof to support the alibi. 

CNN did not name the daughter, but Syed’s daughter Lubna has spoken out in his defense in other interviews. Religious sectarian tensions between Syed and Lubna’s husband are being probed as a potential motive in the murders. 

Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62, was the first Muslim man killed in New Mexico

Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62, was the first Muslim man killed in New Mexico

Naeem Hussein, 25, became the most recent victim when he was gunned down in the middle of the street on Friday night

Naeem Hussein, 25, became the most recent victim when he was gunned down in the middle of the street on Friday night

Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62, (left) was the first Muslim man killed. Naeem Hussein, 25, (right) became the most recent victim when he was gunned down in the middle of the street on Friday

The victims of an apparent serial killer include Aftab Hussein, 41

The victims of an apparent serial killer include Aftab Hussein, 41

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, was shot near the University of New Mexico on August 1

Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, was shot near the University of New Mexico on August 1

The victims of an apparent serial killer include Aftab Hussein, 41, left, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, who was shot near the University of New Mexico on August 1. All of the victims immigrated to the United States from South Asia, and all practiced the Muslim faith

Investigators say they have ample evidence to prove his guilt in the four killings. The first ambush-style shooting happened in November and was followed by three more between July 26 and August 5. 

Syed has been officially charged with two of the murders that have rocked New Mexico’s largest city: the July 26 killing of Aftab Hussein, 41, and the August 1 death of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27. Both men moved to the U.S. from Pakistan.

Police say the gun used in those two shootings was found in Syed’s home.

The other two victims were both Afghan-born: Mohammad Zahir Ahmadi, 62 and Naeem Hussain, 25. 

Police say that ballistic evidence links the four murders, and that Syed will likely soon be charged with all four. 

When interviewed by detectives, Syed spoke through a Pashto interpreter and said he had been with the special forces in Afghanistan and fought against the Taliban, the criminal complaint said. Police said he has lived in America for about five years.

Police say they are looking a a number of possible motives, and have declined to comment directly on reports that Syed, a Sunni Muslim, was angry that his daughter married a Shiite Muslim.

Deputy Police Cmdr. Kyle Hartsock told reporters on Tuesday that ‘motives are still being explored fully to understand what they are.’

1660121498 480 039Sunni Muslim039 suspect is arrested for serial killing of FOUR

1660121498 480 039Sunni Muslim039 suspect is arrested for serial killing of FOUR

Four Muslim men have been shot and killed within a five-mile radius of each other over the past nine months 

Meanwhile, more disturbing details have emerged about Syed’s alleged history of violence, including claims that he attacked his own son with a spoon, threatened to kill his daughter’s boyfriend, assaulted staff at Walmart and Home Depot, and beat his wife inside a state building. 

Syed has a history of allegations of domestic violence against his wife and children dating back to 2017, according to records reported by the Daily Beast.  

Despite the wide array of arrests for battery and assault, Syed never faced formal charges, in part because his family often seemed to downplay the incidents to police investigators.

Police also had difficulty communicating with Syed directly without a translator, and his children often served as intermediaries.

In one July 2017 incident, police reports show cops were called when Syed’s daughter Lubna reported ‘ongoing verbal and physical disputes with her very conservative Muslim parents.’

The daughter said that she was in a dispute with her father over his insistence that her brother escort her to classes at the University of New Mexico, which she felt was unnecessary. 

Police interviewed the daughter and observed swelling around her eye, but were unable to make an arrest when she declined to press charges.

People sprinkle dirt over the grave of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at Fairview Memorial Park in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday. A funeral service was held for Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday

People sprinkle dirt over the grave of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at Fairview Memorial Park in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday. A funeral service was held for Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday

People sprinkle dirt over the grave of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at Fairview Memorial Park in Albuquerque, N.M., on Friday. A funeral service was held for Aftab Hussein, 41, and Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, at the Islamic Center of New Mexico on Friday

Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with the murder of two fellow Muslim men

Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with the murder of two fellow Muslim men

Muhammad Syed, 51, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with the murder of two fellow Muslim men

Then in December 2017, police intervened in two physical altercations between Syed and Iftikhar Amir, who was described at the time as his daughter Lubna’s boyfriend. 

Public records suggested that Lubna later married Iftikhar, listing her as owning a home with a man identified as Iftikhar Hussain Am Jan.

On December 17, 2017, police responded to a report of an altercation when Muhammad Syed and his wife Bibi said they confronted Lubna about coming home late, and then followed her to Iftikhar’s home, where a physical confrontation ensued in which Iftikhar allegedly slashed Syed with a knife. 

Days later, Iftikhar told cops that he was sitting in Lubna’s car on December 23, 2017 when Lubna’s father, brother and mother pulled him out and began kicking and punching him because the ‘did not want her having a relationship’ with him.

In that incident Syed was charged with battery, but the case was later dropped.

In 2018, police responded to Iftikhar’s complaint that Syed threatened to kill him. Syed denied the allegation and claimed that Iftikhar had been the one making threatening phone calls. No charges were filed, and cops warned the two men to stay away from each other.

In another May 2018 incident, Syed was accused of kicking his wife out of their car on the was to an appointment at the New Mexico Department of Human Services and making her walk two hours to get the rest of the way there.

When the wife Bibi arrived at the building, employees reported hearing her screaming and finding her laying on the floor of the lobby with a chunk of hair missing. 

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, left is joined at a press conference by Mayor Tim Keller and Governor Michelle Grisham in announcing the arrest of Muhammad Syed

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, left is joined at a press conference by Mayor Tim Keller and Governor Michelle Grisham in announcing the arrest of Muhammad Syed

Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina, left is joined at a press conference by Mayor Tim Keller and Governor Michelle Grisham in announcing the arrest of Muhammad Syed

Bibi told police that Syed was angry they missed their appointment as he waited for her to arrive, and pushed her to the ground, but no charges were filed. 

Syed’s son Maiwand also called police in late 2018 saying that his father was beating his mother with a large metal spoon. Cops found the son with a bloody laceration on his head, and Maiwand said that Syed regularly beat him and his mother with the spoon. Syed was arrested but the case was later dropped.

Other police records show allegations that did not result in arrest, including claims of food stamp fraud, attempted theft from a Home Depot and assault on a staffer there, and an attack on a Walmart worker.

The Walmart employee Msambya Eboko said that he had previously met Syed in English language classes, and that Syed berated and kicked him as he was trying to return shopping carts from the parking lot.

The news of Syed’s arrest this week stunned Muslims in Albuquerque.

‘I wanted a little closure for the community, as we saw it going out of hand and people were really panicking, but, I´ll be honest with you, I was shocked,’ said Samia Assed, a community organizer and member of the Islamic Center of New Mexico.

‘I was angry, frustrated,’ Assed said, adding that she did not want ‘these heinous crimes to be in any way, in any capacity used to divide a community.’ But she also said that the Muslim community in New Mexico is ‘going to have a more united front.’

Prosecutors on Wednesday filed a motion to detain Syed without bond pending trial. ‘He is a very dangerous person, and the only way to protect the community is to hold the defendant in custody,’ they said.

Authorities seized a 9 mm handgun from his vehicle and found an AK-47-style rifle and a pistol of the same caliber at the family home while serving a search warrant, according to court documents, which indicate the weapons were legally purchased last month. 

Syed bought the rifle, and his son Shaheen Syed purchased the pistol, at a local gun shop.

On Wednesday, Shaheen Syed was charged by federal prosecutors with providing a false Florida address when he bought two rifles last year. He has denied any role in the killings and has not been charged in connection with them.

Police say they are looking at a number of possible motives but aren’t directly commenting on reports that Syed was enraged over his daughter’s marriage to a Shia Muslim.

Ahmad Assed, president of the Islamic Center of New Mexico, on Tuesday acknowledged that ‘there was a marriage,’ but he cautioned against coming to any conclusions about the motivation of the suspect, who occasionally attended the center´s mosque.

Religious leaders from different denominations take part in the the prayer vigil at the Islamic Center of New Mexico after the arrest of Muhammad Syed, a suspect in the recent murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque

Religious leaders from different denominations take part in the the prayer vigil at the Islamic Center of New Mexico after the arrest of Muhammad Syed, a suspect in the recent murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque

Religious leaders from different denominations take part in the the prayer vigil at the Islamic Center of New Mexico after the arrest of Muhammad Syed, a suspect in the recent murders of Muslim men in Albuquerque

CNN interviewed Syed´s daughter shortly before the announcement of his arrest. She said her husband was friends with two of the men who were killed. She also acknowledged her father initially was upset about her 2018 marriage but recently had been more accepting.

‘My father is not a person who can kill somebody,’ the woman told CNN, which did not disclose her identity to protect her safety. ‘My father has always talked about peace. That´s why we are here in the United States. We came from Afghanistan, from fighting, from shooting.’

In 2017, a boyfriend of Syed´s daughter reported to police that Syed, his wife and one of their sons had pulled him out of a car, punching and kicking him before driving away, according to court documents. The boyfriend, who was found with a bloody nose, scratches and bruises, told police that he was attacked because they did not want her in a relationship with him.

Syed was arrested in May 2018 after a fight with his wife turned violent, court documents said. Prosecutors said both cases were later dismissed after the victims declined to press charges.

Syed also was arrested in 2020 after he was accused of refusing to pull over for police after running a traffic light, but that case was eventually dismissed, court documents said.

The Albuquerque slayings drew the attention of President Joe Biden, who said such attacks ‘have no place in America.’ They also sent a shudder through Muslim communities across the U.S. Some people questioned their safety and limited their movements.

‘There is no justification for this evil. There is no justification to take an innocent life,’ Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at a Tuesday news conference in Washington, D.C. He called the killings ‘deranged behavior.’

The suspect vehicle in one of the slayings was this silver Volkswagon

The suspect vehicle in one of the slayings was this silver Volkswagon

The suspect vehicle in one of the slayings was this silver Volkswagon

The earliest case involves the November killing of Mohammad Ahmadi, 62, from Afghanistan.

Naeem Hussain, a 25-year-old man from Pakistan, was killed last Friday. His death came just days after those of Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, 27, and Aftab Hussein, 41, who were also from Pakistan and members of the same mosque.

Investigators consider Syed to be the primary suspect in the deaths of Naeem Hussain and Ahmadi but have not yet filed charges in those cases.

Ehsan Chahalmi, the brother-in-law of Naeem Hussain, said he was ‘a generous, kind, giving, forgiving and loving soul that has been taken away from us forever.’

Police said they were about to search Syed´s Albuquerque home on Monday when they saw him drive away in a Volkswagen Jetta that investigators believe was used in at least one of the slayings.

All of the victims had immigrated to the United States from South Asia, and were fatally shot within a five-mile radius of each other over the past nine months.   

Islam’s great schism

In Islam, Sunnis and Shiites differ on who should have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad after his death in 632.

Sunnis supported the succession of Abu Bakr, the prophet’s friend, whereas Shiite Muslims believe the successor should have been the prophet’s son-in-law and cousin, Ali bin Abu Talib.

This difference has been the root cause of conflicts across the Islamic world for centuries. 

Sunnis believe Muslim leaders can be elected for the job. 

But Shiites believe leaders should be direct descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. 

The two denominations still believe in the same holy book – the Quran – and they also pray to the same god – Allah. 

Ahmad Assed, president of the city’s largest mosque, said he had been told that a hatred of Shiite Muslims was being investigated as a possible motive.

The different denominations of Islam splintered off and have opposing beliefs on who should have succeeded the Prophet Muhammad. Both branches of the religion still follow the same holy book and worship the same god. 

Yet Imtiaz Hussain, the brother of Afzaal Hussain, told DailyMail.com that he did not support the theory.

‘My brother is a Sunni Muslim. Not a Shite Muslim,’ said Imtiaz, who was a prosecutor in Pakistan before moving to Albuquerque. 

‘So I reject the theory that has been widely published that Muhammad Syed killed my brother and others because his daughter married a Shiite Muslim. 

‘My brother was a Muslim. He never carried any ID that said he was a Sunni or Shiite.’

Imtiaz Hussain also said he did not believe his brother knew Syed. 

‘He only went to the Islamic Center every three to four months,’ he continued. 

‘I’ve never meet this person who murdered my brother nor do I think my brother knew him. 

‘He’s 51 years old, my brother is 30 years younger, they wouldn’t have a lot in common with that age gap.’ 

Assed said the fear in his community was even more intense than after the September 11 attacks, when anti-Muslim sentiment was heightened.

‘To experience something as atrocious and as horrific as what we’ve experienced the past few weeks is just mind-boggling,’ Assed said, adding people were afraid to go near windows. 

‘It feels like we’re in a parallel universe.’ 

.