A Muslim surgeon who helped treat victims of the Manchester Arena bombing says he has forgiven a man who stabbed him in the neck outside a mosque.
Dr Nasser Kurdy was attacked by a man who made ‘anti-Muslim comments’ outside the Altrincham Islamic Centre in Greater Manchester at around 6pm on Sunday.
Ian Rook, 28, has been charged in connection with the incident. He appeared in court, where he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and that he understood the charges.
Dr Kurdy, a 58-year-old consultant orthopaedic surgeon, suffered a 3cm cut to the back of his neck in the assault but said he feels no anger towards the attacker.
Prosecutor James Gore told Manchester Magistrates Court: ‘It was an unprovoked attack with a knife. The victim received injuries and had to have four stitches. I’d like to ask for the matter to be sent to Crown Court.’
Dr Nasser Kurdy was attacked by a man who made ‘anti-Muslim comments’ outside the Altrincham Islamic Centre in Greater Manchester at around 6pm on Sunday
He said: ‘He is not representative of what this country stands for. I have absolutely no anger or hate or anything negative towards him. I have declared it, I have totally forgiven him.
‘He could be a marginalised person within his own community.’
Speaking about the horrific incident, he said: ‘It’s shocking something like this can happen within our community.
‘I was just going to the centre on Sunday evening on my own for mid-afternoon prayers. I was a couple of minutes late and only just entered the grounds when it happened.
‘It happened from behind me. I was told later it was a knife in my neck. It was painful. As a surgeon, I could tell immediately none of the vital structures were affected. I just put pressure on my neck. I probably only bled a little bit.
‘Looking back I was pragmatic about it because of my profession and my age.’
He has been discharged from hospital, according to his colleague Dr Khalid Anis, a spokesman for the Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association, who said he was ‘very lucky’.
A video posted on Facebook following reports of the stabbing purportedly shows the victim immediately after the attack.
He can be seen sitting on a bench clutching at his neck and appears to be in some pain as people attend to him.
Dr Kurdy, 58, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, suffered a 3cm cut to the back of his neck in the assault but said he feels no anger towards the attacker
The footage shows them asking him about his attacker. At first he appears unable to answer and another person is overheard saying he was ‘hit’ by something in a man’s hand: ‘I don’t think it was that sharp.’
On Monday the father-of-three, from a Syrian Jordanian family, was preparing to go back to work to treat his patients as the police investigation continued.
He said: ‘God was merciful to me yesterday. It could be a nerve, an artery, a vein, the gullet. The neck is the contact between the body and your head, but fortunately it was just the muscle.
‘As I entered the grounds of the premises, I felt that pain and the blow to my neck.
‘I turned around and saw this gentleman in a threatening pose. I did feel threatened, I did feel vulnerable.’
He rushed inside and, fearing the attacker may follow, grabbed a chair and dashed outside, but his attacker had fled.
‘Police later made two arrests and said they were treating the incident as a hate crime.
Mr Kurdy has worked as a doctor for four decades, after coming to Britain to study medicine in 1977 and working in Perth, Dundee and Northampton before settling in Manchester in 1991.
Dr Kurdy’s colleague Dr Khalid Anis, a spokesman for the Altrincham & Hale Muslim Association, said he was ‘very lucky’
He was going to the Islamic Centre for mid-afternoon prayers and a committee meeting, as he is a lay imam, sometimes giving sermons, and vice chairman of Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association.
Mr Kurdy said, ahead of giving a police statement, that he could not say what his attacker said to him, but was in ‘no doubt’ he was attacked because he was entering the Islamic Centre.
But Mr Kurdy said he felt hate crimes against Muslims were escalating on the back of terror incidents including the Arena bombing and the Parsons Green tube attack.
Mr Kurdy said he felt hate crimes against Muslims were escalating on the back of terror incidents including the Arena bombing and the Parsons Green tube attack
‘The climate is very threatening, very worrying. Something could have happened, horrible, yesterday. The atmosphere that is around has allowed for that.
‘There needs to be acknowledgement that hate crimes against Muslims are on the increase and they are becoming more physical.
‘It’s not just someone saying something verbally, or somebody pulling a headscarf or what have you, it is now taking that extra step and I think that extra step is what has started worrying and frightening people.
‘There are very senseless acts of insanity taking place, which can only fuel anger and hate.
‘We can’t hide away from what happened in Manchester, what happened around the country and the recent Tube incident. That will fuel hatred and anger.
‘People need to know there are Muslims like myself. I’ve worked hard, I’m a surgeon, I treat people. I have a wonderful community. My colleagues at work respect me and value my contribution.
‘I don’t think I can see anybody more integrated than I am. I get invited to sit on services in the synagogue, service on Remembrance Sunday, I’m always in the church at All Saints.
‘I’m sure people don’t get to see that, all they get to see is those crackpots.’
Mr Kurdy said Muslims at the Islamic Centre were now frightened and security will be reviewed.
The centre has suffered a brick through its windows, graffiti and a rubbish bin set alight in the past.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: ‘This is a very nasty and unprovoked attack against a much-loved local man.’
Dr Anis, who was with his friend moments after the attack, said: ‘It could have been very, very serious.
‘He said he noticed someone cross the road and then somebody just attacked him from behind.
‘There were definitely abusive comments made – obviously he was in shock at the time, he had just been stabbed so the detail of those comments I don’t know but there were definitely abusive comments made by the attackers at the door of the mosque.
‘We understand it was a knife – he is very lucky. It’s obviously out of the blue, it’s shocked the whole community.
‘It’s not just a criminal act against the Muslim community or one individual, it’s the people living in Altrincham, I think we all feel that.
‘The fact they attacked an orthopaedic consultant who devoted his life to helping others is really quite poignant.’
Officers arrived at the Altrincham Islamic Centre after Dr Kurdy was stabbed in the neck on Sunday
Police confirmed they are treating the incident as a hate crime and have since charged a man
Councillor Western tweeted: ‘Shocked and saddened to hear of stabbing of Dr Nasser Kurdy outside Altrincham mosque. Thoughts with him and his family.’
Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Miqdaad Versi, added: ‘Muslim orthopaedic surgeon stabbed in neck outside Altrincham Mosque. Reports that perpetrator (now arrested) made anti-Muslim comments.’
A spokesman for the Altrincham Islamic Centre told the Manchester Evening News: ‘Nothing like this has ever happened before and it does 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.
‘I would like to invite anybody to come to talk to us and if they harbour any ill will then to come and find out more about us.
‘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.’
They told the paper: ‘He is a lovely guy, very gentle, loved by the community Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
‘He needs stitches and will be kept in hospital overnight, he is incredibly lucky.
‘This incident has really shaken us.’
Greater Manchester Police said in a statement: ‘Officers have arrested two people after a hate crime in Hale.
‘At around 5.50pm on Sunday 24 September 2017 police were called to reports that a man had been stabbed outside the Islamic Cultural Centre, Grove Lane.
‘Emergency services attended and a man in his 60s has been taken to hospital with a stab wound to the back of his neck.
‘Two men aged 54 and 32 were arrested nearby in connection with the incident and remain in custody for questioning.
‘Officers are treating this as a hate crime and are appealing for people with information to come forward.’
Dr Kurdy treated victims of the Manchester bomb attack earlier this year. Pictured are doctors and emergency treating the injured after the terrorist incident
Police have charged a man in connection with the incident
The imam was stabbed outside Altrincham Islamic Centre (pictured) on Sunday and police have now launched an investigation
Greater Manchester Police rushed to the scene (pictured) after Dr Kurdy was stabbed in the neck
GMP’s Detective Inspector Ben Cottam, said: ‘As with any investigation, our primary concern is for the victim and, thanks to the quick response from our colleagues in the ambulance service, he is currently receiving treatment for his injuries.
‘He was attacked in broad daylight as he made his way to the mosque and while we are yet to gather all the evidence, we can be sure that there is no place for hate crime on our streets and 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.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101 quoting reference number 1646 of 24/09/17 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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