(PATERSON, N.J.) — A man is facing charges, including attempted murder, after he allegedly stabbed an imam at a New Jersey mosque.
The suspect, 32-year-old Serif Zorba, was subdued by congregants after he allegedly attacked a man at the Omar Mosque in Paterson on Sunday morning, according to a statement from Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes.
The victim, a 65-year-old man, was hospitalized to be treated for non-fatal stab wounds, prosecutors said. Paterson 6th Ward Councilman Al Abdel-aziz identified the victim as Imam Sayed Elnakib.
Abdel-aziz said in a statement on Facebook Sunday, “While it is unclear what motivated the attacker, there is no justification for violence of any kind, especially in a sacred space.”
“As a community, it is important that we come together to support one another and denounce all forms of hate and violence. I encourage everyone to reach out to each other for comfort and support, and to work towards creating a safe and welcoming environment for all who enter your mosque,” he said. “I am confident that with love, understanding, and respect, our entire community will come out of this stronger than ever.”
Zorba was charged with first-degree attempted murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, prosecutors said. He is due in court Monday afternoon.
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