Paterson, New Jersey, Imam In Stable Condition After Being Stabbed During Morning Prayer Service, Local Officials Say


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Paterson, New Jersey, imam in stable condition after being stabbed during morning prayer service, local officials say

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The imam is in stable condition after being stabbed during Sunday morning prayers at a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey, according to local authorities.

Imam Syed Elnaqib was shot during the first prayer of the day, around 5:30 a.m., at the Omar Mosque in south Paterson as worshipers knelt for prayer, mosque spokesman Abdul Hamdan told CNN.

The suspect, who was unknown to the congregation until Sunday’s incident, was praying and “rushed forward with a knife and stabbed Imam Syed several times – at least twice,” Hamdan said.


After the incident, the suspect tried to flee the mosque, but the congregation “were able to knock him down, stop him and hold him back” until the police arrived and arrested him, he said.

According to Hamdan, more than 200 worshipers were in the mosque at the time of the attack. The spokesman said he firmly believes this was an isolated incident and assured all congregants “that the mosque is safe and open for worship.”

Mayor Andre Sayeh said he visited Imam Sayyed Elnaqib in the hospital shortly after the incident. The mayor said the imam was in stable condition at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center.

CNN contacted the medical center and received no immediate response.


Sayeh said Elnaqib was “in a better mood than before” on Sunday afternoon and is being treated for a punctured lung. The mayor said the suspects were detained, but their motives are not clear.

The stabbing took place during Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. In 2023, it runs from March 22 to April 20.

At a press conference on Sunday, Sayeh praised the efforts of the worshipers who apprehended the attacker and announced that police presence would be stepped up at Paterson’s mosques.

“We appreciate the efforts of those who were able to apprehend the attacker, and we also want to reassure the family, the congregation at the mosque, that additional attention will be paid to the police,” the mayor said.


“This is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar year and we want to make sure that the safety of those who just come to pray is a priority for us and that we take this situation very seriously,” he continued. “We want everyone who comes to worship to know that they can do it calmly without fear of attack.”

The Paterson Police Department was turned over to the state attorney general’s office in late March due to a “crisis of confidence” in the city’s law enforcement, the office said at the time. The Attorney General’s Office told CNN that the attack is being investigated by the Passaic County Attorney’s Office. CNN contacted the prosecutor’s office for more information.

This was stated by council member Al-Abdel-Aziz, representing the area where the attack took place. on facebook update that he was “deeply saddened” by the stabbing.

“My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragic event,” he said. “While it is not clear what motivated the attacker, there is no justification for any kind of violence, especially in a sacred place.”

“I am happy to hear that Imam Syed Elnaqib is in a stable condition and wish him a full and speedy recovery,” the council member added. “Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time. As a community it is important that we come together to support each other and condemn all forms of hatred and violence.”

A day earlier, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New Jersey called for an investigation into hate crimes following a separate incident in Paterson. The department says a sign at Dr. Hani Awadallah Public School in Paterson has been defaced.

IN statement on Saturday, executive director of the department. Selaedin Maksut said: “While the circumstances surrounding the incident remain unknown, the corruption of the word ‘Allah’ in Dr. Awadallah’s name appears to be deliberate, with the rest of the sign left intact, requiring an immediate hate crime investigation. necessary.”

“In 2022, we recorded the highest number of complaints about anti-Muslim prejudice — 152,” Maksut said. “Over the years, our records have shown that the number of complaints increases during and during Ramadan, in part because Muslims are more visible and take up more space – physically and metaphorically.”

During the month of Ramadan, believers eat and drink until sunrise and fast until sunset. Believers also participate in other forms of practice, including increased prayer, more charity, volunteering, and sharing meals.

Paterson is a city of over 150,000 people. US Census Bureauabout 15 miles north of Newark.

According to Maksut, the city has one of the largest Muslim communities in the state of New Jersey, and the state has more Muslims per capita than any other state in the country.

Later Sunday, Hamdan offered the second prayer of the day at the Mosque of Omar, he said, along with 300 to 400 other worshippers. The spokesman added that prayers will continue throughout Sunday and into the future.

“We urge everyone to let this incident at least get closer to their religion, to God, to visit the community more often and not let it distract them,” Hamdan said. “This is a time of unity and peace, and this incident should in no way deprive us of that. Here, in the mosque, we feel safe.”


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