Serif Zorba was detained on accusation of stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib of Omar Mosque in New Jersey

Serif Zorba
Image source: CNN

Serif Zorba, accused of stabbing an imam at a New Jersey Mosque, has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

Image source: CNN  On Sunday, Serif Zorba was detained on suspicion of stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib of the Omar Mosque in Paterson, New Jersey.

On Monday afternoon, the 32-year-old man accused of stabbing an imam at a mosque in New Jersey on Sunday pleaded not guilty to an attempted murder charge.

Serif Zorba was detained for reportedly stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib of Paterson’s Omar Mosque. Elnakib was stabbed during the day’s first prayer at about 5:30 a.m. while the crowd was kneeling, according to mosque spokesperson Abdul Hamdan.

Security video from the incident shows attendees in the mosque arranged in five long rows. When everyone knelt in prayer, a person in the third row wearing a hoodie went to the front of the room, reaching over other worshippers, and then slammed his right hand into the back of the kneeling imam, according to the footage.

According to the video footage, the congregation then rose in unison, and the assailant attempted to push past the crowd and exit through the mosque’s rear.

According to a press release from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Zorba was arrested with first-degree attempted murder, third-degree unlawful possession, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Zorba, an Istanbul native, also pleaded not guilty to the allegations of unlawful firearm possession. A public defender submitted his plea on Zorba’s behalf on Monday.

The suspect appeared before Paterson Municipal Court Judge Vincenzo Stampone, wearing an orange jumpsuit and his long hair concealing most of his face. Zorba spoke with court officials via a Turkish interpreter.

When Stampone inquired about Zorba’s present residence, Zorba stated that he lived in Paterson but did not provide a specific address.

Zorba is currently being held in pretrial custody. His next appearance in court is set for Thursday.

The prosecutor’s office stated they could not disclose additional information about Zorba’s suspected motive due to the ongoing investigation.

According to the announcement, the maximum punishment for his alleged actions is roughly 26 years.

Where did Zorba come from?

Image source: CNN

Zorba stated he came from Istanbul but couldn’t give his Actual address, instead mentioning a neighboring grocery store. He initially refused, then accepted, public defender representation.

Why did Zorba attack the mosque alone?

Zorba told police immediately after detention that “he prepared the attack the night before at his home on his own owing to his disagreement with the mosque and its head collecting money in the name of Islam.”

According to court documents, the person accused of stabbing a Paterson imam amid morning prayers at a city mosque on Sunday told police he intended to murder the man because of religious differences.

According to investigators, Serif Zorba, 32, was apprehended by attendees at the Omar Mosque after reportedly assaulting Imam Sayed Elnakib, 65, at the Getty Avenue House of Worship.

Zorba made a brief virtual appearance in court from the Bergen County Prison on Monday, speaking through a Turkish-language interpreter and appearing bewildered at points.

“I did nothing,” he claimed as a court explained his rights.

Zorba stated he came from Istanbul but couldn’t give his Actual address, instead mentioning a neighboring grocery store. He initially refused, then accepted, public defender representation.

As the court read the charges against him, which included attempted murder and possession of firearms, Zorba just answered, “I accept that charge.”

The stabbing occurred a day after the vandalism was discovered at the Dr. Hani Awadallah School in Paterson. The “allah” section of the Awadallah’s name was destroyed by a vandal. In Arabic, “Allah” denotes “God.”

Awadallah was an Arab-American community activist who taught history and culture classes at a Paterson school. He passed away in 2012.

Elnakib was stabbed at 5:44 a.m. while offering morning prayers and was transferred to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center for treatment.

Court documents have offered further information on the purported reason for the attack.

When the police came, they discovered a mob of approximately 100 people, some of whom had detained Zorba.

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