According to accounts from the media, on Sunday an influential Imam was attacked with a knife as he was presiding over prayers at a masjid in Paterson, which is situated in the capital of New Jersey in the United States.
According to the sources, the attacker, a person whose name is Serif Zorba, assaulted the Imam, Sayed Elnakib, twice at approximately 5:30 am local time, which is equivalent to 2:30 am PST. The attack took place at the Omar Masjid in South Paterson.
Several people attending the mosque moved immediately to subdue the assailant and stop the attack.
Imam Elnakib, 65 years old, was sent to the neighboring St. Joseph’s Hospital Center, where he is currently reported as having a serious state but is stable.
When the prayers started, there were approximately 200 individuals present at the mosque.
According to a television station in New Jersey, the authorities have stated that the perpetrator of the assault was not a follower of the masjid but had worshipped there on prior occasions.
A representative for the mosque has stated that despite the increased security measures, the mosque will continue to be open.
The suspected attacker, Zorba, was eventually arrested and charged with intentional murder in the first degree. According to the information provided by the Passaic County State prosecutor, his sentencing hearing was set to take place on Monday afternoon.
The Mayor of the City, Andre Sayegh, went to see the Imam there in the hospital after the attack, and he expressed his gratitude to the authorities for quickly apprehending the man who carried out the attack.
The councilman who oversees the neighborhood where the attack took place, Al Abdelaziz, stated that the community needs to unite in supporting one another and oppose all forms of hatred and violence.
Abdelaziz stated that there is no reason to resort to violence of any type, especially at a sacred place, even though it is not known what inspired the assailant to carry out the crime.
The authorities are of the opinion that the assault on the Imam was an isolated incident rather than a hate crime.
According to a press statement, the stabbing took place just one day after the New Jersey branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) requested a hate crime inquiry into vandalism that was committed against the Dr. Hani Awadallah public school in Paterson.
On the sign that was posted at the entrance to the school with Dr. Hani Awadallah’s name, the name Allah in his name had been obscured with an unidentified dark substance.
CAIR New Jersey Director Selaedin Maksut claimed that while the specifics of the incident are unclear, it appears that the smearing of something like the word Allah in Dr. Awadallah’s name was done on purpose, as the rest of the sign was left unharmed.
He went on to say that we had received 152 reports of anti-Muslim discrimination in 2022, which was the greatest amount we had ever received during this time period.
Our statistics have revealed that the number of complaints received around and during Ramadan has grown throughout the years.
This is likely due to the fact that Muslims are much more prominent and occupy a greater amount of space, both literally and figuratively, during this time.
According to reports, Paterson is home to one of the most sizable Muslim populations in the country of New Jersey, with a higher percentage of Muslims living there compared to any other province in the country.