Bashir Ahmad, a devout Muslim from Afghanistan, went to his local mosque, Masjid Al-Saaliheen, at 4:45 a.m. to open its doors for morning prayer, just as he has done every morning for the past 12 years.
But on the morning of Sunday, November 18, something went terribly wrong.
“I was facing the door and a man came up from behind me,” said the 57-year-old while in his Flushing home.
The mosque, on Kissena Boulevard, had just changed its locks, and Ahmad was struggling with the new key as a white male came up from behind him and started stabbing him on the back of his shoulder.
“He hit me six times,” said Ahmad, of just the start of the attack. He said the man was yelling, “You’re a Muslim motherf—–, I’ll kill you.”
Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Ahmad said that his attacker began hitting him on the top of his head, and when Ahmad turned around and attempted to restrain the man by grabbing both of his hands, he bit Ahmad on his nose, and stabbed him on the side of his right leg. He also suffered a laceration just above his right eye and a slash to his right thumb. During the tussle, Ahmad tried to defend himself by biting the unidentified man’s finger.
“This guy was coming near me, he’s crazy,” said Ahmad.
The suspect is described as a white male, about 35 to 45 years old, 6 feet tall and weighing approximately 180 pounds, with blue eyes and a light complexion. He was last seen wearing a baseball cap, black jacket and blue jeans, and was possibly wearing glasses.
After Ahmad successfully shoved his attacker off of him, he ran up Kissena Boulevard. Ahmad frantically approached two taxi cabs outside of the mosque, instructing one driver to call 9-1-1 and the other to follow the suspect.
Police reported that on November 18, authorities found Ahmad in front of the Masjid Al-Saaliheen mosque at 72-55 Kissena Boulevard with stab wounds. He was taken to New York Hospital Queens where he was treated for his wounds and discharged shortly after.
Ahmad received staples in his leg and stitches in his thumb, forehead, the top of his head and back.
Regarding the attack, Ahmad said that it was not him who his attacker was after, but the Muslim faith as a whole.
“His problem [is not with me], his problem is [with] Muslims,” he alleged. “I’m not scared.”
Ahmad said that in a few days, once his wounds heal a bit more, he will return to the mosque and his usual day-to-day activities.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.
With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola