A man who was restrained by attendees attacked an imam on Sunday when he was performing early morning prayers at a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey, according to the police and a local.
Serif Zorba, 32, who was the male, was detained and accused with first-degree attempted murder, according to authorities.
According to a press release from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, by the time the police got at the Omar Mosque about 5:30 a.m., Mr. Zorba had been “subdued by attendees.”
Sayed Elnakib, the imam, was identified by Paterson’s mayor, Andre Sayegh. According to the prosecution, the 65-year-old imam was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center with “nonfatal stab wounds.”
According to the community member Sikander Khan, the attack happened just after the start of the morning prayers, when a man jumped forward and repeatedly stabbed Mr. Elnakib.
Mr. Khan, a city worker from Paterson who serves as co-chairman of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee’s Muslim caucus, reported that Mr. Elnakib underwent surgery and was in stable condition but had liver damage.
The attacker, who had previously visited the mosque for prayer, was described by Mr. Khan as unknown to other worshippers and not a “active member.”
Nobody actually knew him, according to Mr. Khan. “We don’t know the reason for his behavior,”
Mr. Khan continued, “He would come in and kind of sat apart from everyone else and didn’t really connect with anyone. “We are really perplexed as to why he would do such a thing. We send the imam and his family our prayers and hope him a speedy recovery.
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When Mayor Sayegh visited Mr. Elnakib in the hospital on Sunday, he expressed optimism for a speedy recovery.
The mayor also stated that the city would increase its police presence at mosques in response to the attack. People shouldn’t be frightened to pray, he declared.
He didn’t provide any information regarding a potential motivation, and neither did the prosecutors.
Councilman Alaa Abdelaziz of Paterson expressed his “great sadness” over the attack on Facebook. He declared, “As a community, it is critical that we unite to support one another and reject all manifestations of hate and violence.
According to the prosecution, Mr. Zorba will appear before a judge in Paterson on Monday afternoon on allegations linked to guns. He may spend up to 20 years behind bars in New Jersey state prison if found guilty of the attempted murder allegation.
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