ABC7 Exclusive: Murdered brothers a hate crime, family says

October 3, 2013 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

The bodies of 38-year-old Azim Hakeem and 34-year-old Mobeen Hakeem were discovered in the basement of their family's tobacco shop in the north suburb.

Two months after their lives were shattered by what happened in the basement in the shop, an elderly couple is searching for answers and looking for explanation for something that seems to be unexplainable.

In the confines of the century-old tobacco shop that the Hakeem family has run for more than 30 years the parents of Mohbeen and Azim Hakeem remain bewildered.

"They are born and raised here, but it is our culture," said Mahjbeen Hakeem, the slain brothers' mother. "They follow the house rules, very obedient. Even now, even my husband, he cries every night before he goes to bed because Mobeen is the one who used to tuck him into bed."

Abdul Hakeem bought the shop in 1980 after a career with the Cook County Medical Examiner.

"I want to know who did this crime," he said. "Somebody has to do it and why they did it."

In the space between two full basement humidors somebody gunned down the pair and padlocked the store from the outside on July 30. The parents do not believe everything is being done to investigate the deaths and think there is one reason.

"Because we are Muslims," Mahjbeen Hakeem said. "I think it is a hate crime, that's what it is."

Evanston Police say they've dedicated a pair of detectives and a sergeant full time to the case.

"We are trying to do the best that we can this is a complicated case," said Commander Jay Parrot, Evanston Police Department. "Obviously when cases don't get resolved in the first few days, they do become more complicated, but currently detectives and forensic people are reviewing evidence. There was a lot of evidence taken from the scene."

The business is for sale. There is no price and in fact the Hakeems said they have thousands of dollars of inventory they still have to sell, in terms of cigars and associated products, which they cannot sell because the police still have their cash register.

Evanston police, while not calling it a hate crime, have not ruled out that race may have been involved.

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