MANCHESTER – The stabbing of a loved local Muslim surgeon and imam outside a Greater Manchester mosque has shocked the British Muslim community, in an incident that police are treating as a hate crime.
“He is a lovely guy, very gentle, loved by the community, Muslim and non-Muslim alike,” a friend of the victim, named locally as Dr Nasser Kurdy, an orthopaedic surgeon and imam, told the Manchester Evening News on Sunday.
“He needs stitches and will be kept in hospital overnight. He is incredibly lucky. This incident has really shaken us.”
The attack occurred as Dr Kurdy was reportedly arriving at the Altrincham Islamic center, Grove Lane, for evening prayers at 6pm when someone stabbed him in the neck from behind.
A video posted on Facebook purportedly shows the victim immediately after the attack.
Another witness told the Manchester Evening News that nothing like this had ever happened before and it did not reflect the community.
“In my experience community relations are very good and it is a very safe area. It is shocking for all of us,” they said.
“My message to the congregation is to not be deterred from coming here. One thing that our scripture tells us is to repel evil with kindness.”
Manchester Central mosque said on Facebook the victim was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Wythenshawe hospital, and occasionally delivered the sermon at Friday prayers.
“Extremely sad to hear about the dreadful news that has just come in from Altrincham where an imam has been stabbed in the neck,” the mosque said.
Police said they were treating the attack as a hate crime and confirmed they had arrested two men, aged 54 and 32.
“Thanks to the quick response from our colleagues in the ambulance service, [the victim] is currently receiving treatment for his injuries,” said a spokesperson for Greater Manchester police.
“He was attacked in broad daylight as he made his way to the mosque. While we are yet to gather all the evidence, we can be sure that there is no place for hate crime on our streets. We will do all that we can to take action against those who jeopardise the safety of others.
“We have two people in custody who were arrested a short time after the call came in but need people who witnessed the attack or those who have information to contact us.”
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson added: “This is a very nasty and unprovoked attack against a much-loved local man. Police are not looking for any other suspects.”
On the other hand, Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, urged the prime minister and home secretary to implement the government’s hate crime action plan.
“We are shocked to hear of the stabbing of a prominent Muslim surgeon outside Altrincham mosque today in what the Greater Manchester police have described as a hate crime,” said.
“We are relieved to hear that the victim’s injuries are not currently critical. Our prayers are with the victim, his family and the local community.”