Hate crime victim Dr Nasser Kurdy recovering at home today after yesterday's knife attack outside an Altrincham mosque. pic.twitter.com/sqaC6686wZ— BBC North West (@BBCNWT) September 25, 2017
A Muslim surgeon, who was stabbed in the neck as he walked to a mosque in Greater Manchester this weekend, not only forgave his attacker but also insisted the man does not represent “what this country stands for.”
Syrian-Jordanian consultant and vice chairman of Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association, Nasser Kurdy, who operated on the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing on May 22, was going to attend mid-afternoon prayers and a committee meeting, when he was ambushed from behind by a man with a knife.
The attacker stabbed Kurdy just as he was walking into the Islamic center.
“As I entered the grounds of the premises, I felt that pain and the blow to my neck,” said the surgeon. “I turned around and saw this gentleman in a threatening pose. I did feel threatened, I did feel vulnerable.”
Kurdy ran inside the mosque and fearing his assailant would follow him inside the building and hurt the occupants, grabbed a chair and dashed outside. However, by that time, the man had fled.
The 58-year-old man suffered a 3-centimeter stab wound to the back of his neck and was taken to the Wythenshawe Hospital. Fortunately, the knife missed major arteries and nerves.
“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,” Kurdy said.
Kurdy said he could not understand what the attacker said to him but he was in “no doubt” he was attacked because he was entering the Islamic center. However, he said he has already forgiven the man.
“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,” said the surgeon. “He could be a marginalized person within his own community.”
Ian Anthony Rook, a 28-year-old man, was charged in connection with the attack on Monday. Rook, who does not have a permanent residence, will attend Manchester magistrates’ court on Tuesday where he will be accused of assault and possession of a lethal weapon.
A second man was set free without any other action.
The police force is treating the incident as a hate crime, but, as it happens in the case of most white, non-Muslim criminals, not as a terrorist attack.
Kurdy said Muslims at the Altrincham Islamic Centre now fear for their safety and security at the institute will be reviewed.
Muslim leaders of Britain also condemned the attack.
Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said on Sunday, “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…Our prayers are with the victim, his family and the local community."
He also requested Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd to implement the Government's Hate Crime Action Plan.
Religious leaders of other communities also condemned the attack.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews expressed solidarity with Muslims and its public affairs director, Phil Rosenberg, said Kurdy and the Muslim community were in their thoughts and prayers.
“These terrorists may wish to sow division, but they only succeed in bringing us closer together,” Rosenberg said.
A spokesman from the Sikh Council U.K. called the attack “cowardly” and said, “We are heartened to read his comments showing compassion and forgiveness towards the attackers, who were motivated by hate and attacked him outside his mosque.”
Bishop of Stockport Elizabeth Lane said, “I join the chorus of condemnation of all such violent, hate-filled crime and commend the gracious and reconciling response offered by Altrincham Muslim Association.”
Praying for a fast recovery and thinking of Dr Nasser Kurdy tonight injured in a horrific muslim hate crime attack tonight! He saved my legs— Ryan Cooper (@ryan_cooper512) September 24, 2017
I wish Dr Nasser Kurdy a speedy recovery. May his attackers find constructive ways to deal with their own inadequacies. https://t.co/xbve2p5i6k— Justin Ehrlich (@JustinEhrlich) September 25, 2017
Since the Manchester Arena bombing, the number of hate crimes in Greater Manchester rose from 614 reported cases in April to 1,068 in June. The number of hate crimes started to fall in July with 857 incidents; however, they still remain above the 573 reported in the same month of last year.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Peter Nicholls