Islamic leaders and business owners gather and close businesses in the Syracuse area to protest recent violent crimes

Syracuse, NY – Local leaders of Islamic organizations and business owners are closing businesses and planning to protest at Syracuse City Hall today after recent murder, vandalism and looting.

More than 100 businesses in Syracuse, DeWitt, Solvay and Liverpool will be closed until 4 p.m. Friday, said Mohamed Hosehesi, owner of the Blue Star gas station on South Salina Street. Many businesses have Muslim owners.

At 2 p.m., business owners and members of the Islamic community will rally outside City Hall to demand more proactive policing at local gas stations, convenience stores and other local businesses, said Hosehesi.

The protest is partly a response to the recent murder of Raouf Muharram, 32, at the Blue Star gas station, 1410 South Salina St., Hosheshi said.

Business owners no longer feel safe,” he said.

The purpose of the protest is to “save the city”, Hosheshi said. He thinks there needs to be more proactive policing at local businesses, especially gas stations.

Gas stations are often targets of violent crime, he said. On Tuesday, a gas station in Syracuse was robbed by a man armed with a hatchet.

Hosheshi said the city is suffering due to the constant fear of violence in small businesses.

Islamic community leaders and local business owners met with Mayor Ben Walsh last week to discuss how the city could better protect them.

Onondaga County Legislator Charles Garland, who represents part of Syracuse, said in a press release that Islamic leaders and business owners would like the city to make several changes:

  • A return of community trailers and satellite stations.
  • Walk-throughs by officers and/or periodic visits and drive-throughs by patrol cars.
  • Faster and more consistent response to calls from shop and business owners for vagrancy, threats, assaults and thefts.
  • More pole-mounted police cameras to act as a deterrent and aid in investigations.
  • A change in all applicable city/county laws/ordinances to mitigate the possibility of more criminal acts and ensure public safety.

Editor Anne Hayes covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Any advice, an idea for an article, a question or a comment? You can reach her at [email protected].

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