Prayer Turned Into Chaos As Imam Got Stabbed During Prayer

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On Sunday, an imam was stabbed while leading his congregation in prayer at a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey. According to local authorities, the offender was soon subdued by believers.

On Sunday, police reacted to the attack inside the Omar Mosque in south Paterson around 5:37 a.m. local time. When they arrived, they discovered that a 32-year-old man had already been captured, according to Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes in a press statement.

Serif Zorba, the suspect, was arrested and accused with first-degree attempted murder and weapons charges. Valdes noted that he is scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon.

Imam Sayed Elnakib, 65, was sent to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center right away.

Mayor André Sayegh, who visited Elnakib in the hospital on Sunday afternoon, said the imam was stable despite “suffering some serious wounds.” Sayegh stated at press conference on Sunday that there will be an increased police presence at mosques throughout the city to protect people’s safety during the final days of Ramadan.

“You should not be afraid to pray; you should feel safe praying,” Sayegh continued. According to Abdul Hamdan, mosque spokesperson, around 200 individuals were there at the time of the incident.

The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment on the suspected motive for the assault, telling NPR that the investigation is ongoing.

“While it is unclear what motivated the attacker, there is no justification for any kind of violence, especially in a sacred space,” stated Councilmember Al Abdel-aziz, who represents the region where the event occurred, on Facebook.

The attack occurs just weeks before Ramadan, a month of fasting and prayer that marks the most sacred time of the year in the Islamic culture.

The incident occurred just one day after the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations demanded a hate crime inquiry into a different incident at the Dr. Hani Awadallah public school in Paterson.

Dina Sayedahmed, a chapter representative, told NPR that the group discovered on Friday that the word “Allah” in Dr. Hani Awadallah’s name had been vandalized with an unknown dark substance. In Arabic, the term “Allah” means “God.”

In 2022, the organisation stated it received 152 complaints about anti-Muslim bigotry.

Paterson has one of the greatest Muslim populations in the United States, with Muslims accounting for approximately 25,000 to 30,000 of the city’s more than 150,000 residents.

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