Sources: Man charged with stabbing prayer leader in Paterson believed to be involved in another mosque attack

Two hundred worshippers were kneeling in prayer in Paterson when Serif Zorba allegedly lunged toward Imam Sayed Elnakib and stabbed him twice in the back.

Lanette Espy and Ali Reid

Apr 10, 2023, 11:16 AM

Updated 460 days ago


The man accused in a stabbing Sunday at Omar Mosque during a prayer service is believed to have been involved in another attack at Mevlana Mosque on Sussex Street in Paterson just a few weeks ago, News 12 sources say.
Serif Zorba was charged with attempted murder for stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib, 65, at Omar Mosque early Sunday morning during one of the holiest days for Muslims, according to the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.
Elnakib was taken to Saint Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson for treatment where's he's listed in serious, but stable condition.
Two hundred worshippers were kneeling in prayer when Zorba allegedly lunged toward Elnakib and stabbed him twice in the back. News 12 was told congregants managed to grab Zorba and throw him down to the ground until police arrived on scene just minutes later.
"Because of the swift actions taken by Omar Mosque congregants, the attacker was swiftly and immediately apprehended as he tried to run out of the mosque until he was placed under arrest by Paterson Police Department and Passaic County sheriff," said Abdul Hamdam, a spokesperson for the Omar Mosque.
The incident at Omar Mosque comes on the heels of an open investigation in Paterson after a school sign was vandalized at the Dr. Hani Awadallah School where the Allah" part of the name was scribbled over in black markings.
Officials don't have a reason to believe both incidents are connected in any way. Police believe the stabbing was a senseless, isolated incident. Worshippers are being reassured that they can attend prayer in peace moving forward.
Paterson officials say a mosque protection plan will go into place following an attack at a Paterson mosque.
The Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office asks anyone with additional information to call 877-370-PCPO or or contact the Paterson Police Department Detective Bureau at 973-321-1120.

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