An Imam is in stable condition after being stabbed while conducting fajir prayer on Sunday morning at a mosque in Paterson, New Jersey, local officials reported.
The incident occurred around 5:30 AM at Omar Mosque in south Paterson. Video footage shows a man jumping up to attack the Imam while others go into sajida.
The suspect, who was unknown to mosque goers prior to Sunday’s incident, was praying when he “lunged forward with a knife and stabbed Imam Sayed multiple times – at least twice,” mosque spokesperson Abdul Hamdan told CNN.
After the incident, the suspect attempted to flee from the mosque but congregants “were able to bring him down and apprehend him and hold him” until police arrived and arrested him, he said.
Imam Sayed Elnakib was taken to the hospital and is recovering from his injuries.
According to Hamdan, more than 200 people were present in the mosque at the time of the stabbing. Instead of falling victim to fear, Hamdan added that the incident seems isolated and “that the mosque is safe and to practice their faith, it is open.”
Mayor Andre Sayegh said he visited Imam Sayed Elnakib in the hospital soon after the incident. The imam is in stable condition at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center.