Family of Murdered N.J. Muslim Woman Questions Husband's Story

PHOTO: Nazish Noorani and husband Kashif Pervaiz
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The brother and sister of a young mother who was gunned down while walking in a quiet New Jersey suburb raised questions today about their brother-in-law's account of the shooting that killed his wife and left him wounded.

"I hope he's not involved," Kaleem Noorani, the brother of murder victim Nazish Noorani, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. He said he wanted the police to thoroughly investigate his brother-in-law Kashif Pervaiz's statements about the Tuesday night shooting in Boonton, N.J., about 30 miles from New York City.

Noorani's sister, Lubnar Choudhry, who said she was two houses away when she heard the gunfire, told the New Jersey paper that she didn't hear a car and "didn't see anybody run off."

Noorani, 27, and Pervaiz, 26, who are Muslim, had broken the daily Ramadan fast at her sister's house and were walking a few blocks in the leafy neighborhood of single-family houses to her father's when shooting broke out. Their 3-year-old son, who was in a stroller, was unharmed, and the couple's other child was with relatives.

Law-enforcement authorities said the killing was "targeted" and not a hate crime.

"The shooting clearly appears to be target-specific. ... There is not a continuing danger to the general public," Morris County prosecutor Robert Bianchi said in a statement. No further information was available from prosecutors or the Boonton Police Department, and no arrests have been made.

Choudhry said that her sister's marriage had recently seemed rocky. "I think he upset her," she told the Star-Ledger.

And a neighbor in East Boston, where the couple had an apartment, told the paper that he had seen Pervaiz a few weeks ago with a woman who was not his wife. "He was divorced or getting divorced. One time I heard them yelling," Raul Santamaria said.

Noorani, a native of Pakistan, and Pervaiz, originally from Brooklyn, lived in that New York City borough but were visiting her family in Boonton, which has a long-established Pakistani community. Noorani was dressed in traditional Pakistani clothing, according to the Associated Press.

Neighbors in Boonon were initially terrified by reports of a drive-by shooting but are less fearful now that it appears the murder was not a random killing but targeted, said Susan Zaniewski, who lives near the murder scene and whose daughter, Katie Bakstad, in her third week on the job as a paramedic, rushed to help.

"It looks a lot different now. We feel safe again," said Zaniewski, a school bus driver, who said the community is normally very peaceful and harmonious. "I lived here 50 years, and there's never been anything like this. I walk outside in the middle of the night," she said. "Everybody in the town gets along. The kids all go to school together."

She said Noorani graduated from the local high school. "She was such a beautiful girl."

Pervaiz, who is recovering at a local hospital, runs a construction firm, Riyaan Developers, which is listed as operating in Brooklyn and East Boston. A woman who answered the phone at the company hung up when asked about the Boonton shooting.

Though family members told the AP that Pervaiz was an engineering graduate student at Harvard University, a spokesman for Harvard said, "We have not immediately been able to locate a record for a student by that name."

Noorani's funeral will be held Friday at the Jam E-Masjid Islamic Center in Boonton. At the center, Zeenat Mannan said everyone is shocked. "It's never happened in Boonton. Everyone's so sad."

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