Jersey City, New Jersey — A Muslim man is behind bars tonight and is facing murder and desecration charges after beheading two Egyptian Christians and cutting off their hands.
Reports state that 28-year-old Yusuf Ibrahim of Jersey City killed 25-year-old Hanny F. Tawadros and 27-year-old Amgad A. Konds earlier this month by shooting them in the chest at close range. He then beheaded the men and chopped off their hands, and took off with the car belonging to one of his victims.
Ibrahim buried the various body parts in separate shallow graves just outside of Philadelphia, where they were later uncovered by authorities. One of the men had just recently moved to New Jersey from Egypt.
RTV-6 states that Ibrahim knew the men and killed them following an argument. He was taken into custody by police, who reportedly had been tipped off about the matter, after the bodies of the two men were discovered in the back yard of a home in Buena Vista. Police state that Ibrahim intended on setting the Mercedez Benz of one of the victims on fire, but took off after being spotted by officers. He was later caught and arrested at his apartment after a thorough investigation was conducted.
Ibrahim has been incarcerated on $3 million bail, and recently appeared to face charges via a video link from the Hudson County Jail. He is facing two counts each of murder and desecrating human remains.
While an impetus is not yet known for the crime, some are concerned that it might be religiously motivated. Pamela Geller, a conservative blogger who also serves as the executive director of American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and Stop Islamization of America (SIOA), says that she believes the beheadings coincide with Muslim teachings.
“The killing evokes this passage in the Quran: ‘When thy Lord was revealing to the angels, ‘I am with you; so confirm the believers. I shall cast into the unbelievers’ hearts terror; so smite above the necks, and smite every finger of them!'” she said. “The victims were Coptic Christians and the murderer was Muslim, and we are painfully aware of the status and treatment of Coptic Christians under Muslim rule in Egypt.”
But Samy Hohareb, a friend of the two men, said he was not so sure.
“I leave it for the police and the investigation,” he told reporters.
Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Wilson said that it was a “pretty horrific crime,” and commended the officers involved for apprehending Ibrahim. Assistant Attorney General Thomas Calcagni agreed.
“From the moment they were alerted to the crimes here, they moved with what was really lightning speed to uncover the evidence, identify the victims and locate and apprehend the suspect,” he said.
Official reports describe the crime as “ruthless” and “calculating.” Ibrahim has been wanted over the past year regarding his connection to an armed robbery that took place in 2012.
State police are investigating whether any accomplices were involved in the murders.