Sheikh Sayed Al-Naqeeb (70 years old), the imam of the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque in Paterson, the third largest city in New Jersey, was stabbed while leading the Fajr prayer on Sunday. Imam Sayed was transferred to St. Joseph Hospital in Paterson, where he is in a stable condition.
Eyewitnesses stated that the mosque was home to about 200 worshippers at the time of the accident, and the accused was in the third row, waited for the end of the first rak’ah, left the row, headed to the imam, and stabbed him twice with a sharp instrument while he was in the moment of prostration.
The imam shouted, “He killed me.” The attacker tried to escape through the side door of the mosque, but the worshippers caught up with him and threw him to the ground. They called the police, who came immediately and arrested the attacker.
Diab Mustafa, president of the Palestinian Community Centre in Clifton/Patterson, said the attacker was not a regular visitor to the mosque, and no one knew him.
He said that the attacker was a Kurd with Turkish citizenship, but the suspect’s name has not been revealed yet for reasons related to the investigations. “The puzzling question about the motives that led a Muslim man to do such a sinful act in the mosque during the blessed month of Ramadan and in front of about two hundred worshippers,” Mustafa continued.