A surgeon stabbed on his way to a mosque on Sunday has forgiven his attackers saying he and his family have “no hatred, or anger” towards them.
Dr Nassar Kurdy was set upon outside the Altrincham Islamic Centre in Grove Lane in the Greater Manchester market town in what police described as a “very nasty and unprovoked attack”.
The 58-year-old told the Manchester Evening News on Monday that he is “very grateful” that he wasn’t more seriously injured, admitting, “I could not have been here today”.
Despite that, Kurdy, who helped victims in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, said neither he or his wife, or their children, had any ill feelings towards those responsible.
His comments came as Ian Anthony Rook, 28, of no fixed abode, was charged by Greater Manchester Police in connection with the stabbing on Sunday.
“I can safely say we have absolutely no hatred, or anger or any ill feelings to the perpetrators.”
He added that “at no stage” did he feel “anything negative” towards his attackers and urged the wider community to “clean their hearts of any anger or aggression”.
Kurdy urged the Grove Lane community to “build bridges” as that is how “we keep hatred out”.
Greater Manchester Police arrested two men, aged 32 and 54, within an hour of the attack, which the force is treating as a hate crime, but said was not terrorism related.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “This is a very nasty and unprovoked attack against a much-loved local man.”
Police are not looking for any other suspects, he added.
Dr Khalid Anis, who was with his friend moments after the attack, said Kurdy had noticed someone cross the road before he was attacked 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,” Anis said.
“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.”
Other Muslim leaders also condemned the attack.
Harun Khan, secretary general of the MCB, 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.
“We are relieved to hear that the victim’s injuries are not currently critical. Our prayers are with the victim, his family and the local community.”
Khan called on the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to implement the Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan.
Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, tweeted: “I strongly condemn the stabbing of the Imam of the #Altrincham mosque earlier today. The Imam is recovering and an arrest has been made.”
A video posted on Facebook following reports of the stabbing purportedly shows the victim immediately after the attack.
A man is filmed sitting on a bench clutching at his neck and appears to be in some pain as people attend to him.
Manchester Central Mosque said in a statement on Facebook the victim is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Wythenshawe Hospital, and occasionally does the sermon at Friday prayers.