QUEENS — The Muslim man who was stabbed in a hate crime outside a Flushing mosque early Sunday morning wants to ask his attacker why he hates people who practice Islam.
Bashir Ahmad, 57, suffered stab wounds to his back and torso and cuts on his head and hand after he was assaulted by a man spewing violent anti-Muslim remarks about 4:50 a.m. outside the second-floor entrance to the Masjid Al-Saaliheen Mosque on Kissena Boulevard near 72nd Avenue, police said.
If police find the attacker, Ahmad hopes to have the chance to ask the man why he hates a religion that Ahmad said means so much to him.
“The police called me yesterday and said they’re still looking for the guy,” Ahmad said at his Flushing apartment Tuesday, where he is recovering. “I told them, ‘Give me two minutes with him.’ I want to know why, what problem you have with me and with Muslims that you hurt my back and almost take my finger off.”
The Afghani native, who has stitches above his eyebrow and on his thumb, said he was opening up the second-floor mosque for his routine prayer but was left vulnerable because he was struggling with a new lock system on the door.
Ahmad, who has keys to the mosque because he prays early in the morning, said he was looking inside the keyhole as he heard the assailant coming up the stairs, but he figured the man was looking for the taxi service, which has a door adjacent to that of Masjid Al-Saaliheen’s.
“Suddenly it’s one, two, three, four, five, six times in the back he stabs,” Ahmad recalled. “He was hitting my face and he tells me, “Motherf---er, I’ll kill you Muslim.”
Ahmad was able to subdue his attacker by locking arms with him, but the man slashed his thumb and reached out and bit his nose.
Ahmad retaliated by biting the aggressor’s hand and head-butting his attacker. Ahmad was able to break free, run down the stairs and grab the nearest taxi driver to tell him to alert the authorities, he said.
Ahmad said he is feeling better with each day, and he is looking forward to returning to praying and serving food at his halal cart at 77th Street and Madison Avenue, which he has run for 18 years.
“The doctors are telling me I can’t shower until maybe Sunday because there are still places that I can’t [expose to] water,” Ahmad said. “I can’t work or pray if I’m dirty like this.”
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly asked for the public's help in finding the attacker on Tuesday and denied reports that the assailant had also made anti-Semitic remarks.
“I have not heard that,” Kelly said.
Cops described the suspect as a 6-foot, 180-pound man in his 40s last seen wearing a blue baseball cap, black jacket and blue jeans. He might have been wearing glasses, police added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-TIPS, texting to CRIMES and then entering TIP577, or logging onto www.NYPDcrimestoppers.com.
With reporting by Trevor Kapp