TRENTON – A prayer leader was stabbed during the morning prayer at a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey, sparking widespread condemnation in what appears to be an incident of anti-Muslim hate crime as it occurred during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Reports in international media suggest that Imam Sayed Elnakib at Omar Mosque was stabbed multiple times but survived the attack and was in stable condition.
The attacker, identified as Serif Zorba, was offering prayers at the mosque and moved swiftly with a knife and stabbed the prayer leader, 65, with full force. After attacking Imam, Zorba tried to escape but people managed to hold him and later police detained him.
Imam Sayed Elnakib has been stabbed last night during fajr prayer at the Omar Mosque in Paterson, the hatred in this world has gotten out of hand and may allah punish those who have such hatred in their heart. Please keep the Imam in your Dua’s for speedy recovery🤍 pic.twitter.com/zYCdrZWbIZ
— Malak🇵🇸 (@MalakIgbara) April 9, 2023
He is charged with first-degree attempted murder among other offenses and is set to present before a court.
At least 200 worshipers were said to be in the mosque at the time of the brutal attack.
Later, Mayor of Paterson Andre Sayegh visited the wounded Imam in the local medical facility and confirmed that Imam suffered a punctured lung but is in great spirits.
He late holds a presser in which he hailed the efforts of congregants who managed to take the attacker down. Mayor also pledged to beef up security at Paterson mosques.