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My stabbing was ‘a wakeup call to stand against hate’ says Muslim surgeon

26th Oct 2017

An image from a video posted on Facebook showing Consultant Nasser Kurdy moments after he was stabbed in the neck (Photo: Facebook)


Elham Asaad Buaras


A surgeon stabbed in the neck in an Anti-Muslim attack has spoken to The Muslim News about his ordeal and how the incident has prompted him to become an anti-hate advocate.

Consultant Nasser Kurdy, who operated on victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in May, was stabbed from behind with a knife as he walked into Altrincham Islamic Centre in Hale, Cheshire, just before 6 pm on September 24. Greater Manchester Police are treating the attack as a hate crime but not terrorism related.

Speaking about the horrific incident the 58 year-old father of three said: “The most immediate feeling was of severe pain in my neck. As I turned around and saw my assailant, initially I was taken back as I have never experienced something like this before. I then felt that he made a move towards me and I literally ran for my life. As I opened the door to enter the main hall at our Islamic Cultural Centre, it was at that moment that I felt the most fearful. As I entered the main hall I saw two sisters and for whatever reason, my sense of fear vanished instantly.”


Kurdy, from Hale Barns, rushed inside and, fearing the attacker may follow, grabbed a chair and dashed outside, but his attacker had fled. He continued, “After that, the main feeling was a pain in my neck which I tried to ease by holding strongly onto it.”


“I was told that I have a cut on my neck and it was then that I realised that I was stabbed. As a doctor, I immediately realised that no serious damage took place as a result of the stabbing. I later found out from my scans that I have escaped paralysis and possible fatality by a very narrow margin.”


Kurdy, from a Syrian-Jordanian descent, said although he had not experienced Islamophobia before his attack, his wife had “remarks made at her and I have witnessed a number of incidents at our Islamic Centre. Prior to our formal planning application for a new centre, there was an organised demonstration against our proposal as it was on a piece of greenbelt land. The narrative of the objection was disturbing and provocative.”

Kurdy has worked as a doctor for four decades, after coming to Britain to study medicine in 1977 and working in Perth, Dundee and Northampton before settling in Manchester in 1991.

He was going to the Islamic Centre for mid-afternoon prayers and a committee meeting, as he is a lay imam, sometimes giving sermons, and Vice Chair of Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association.

Kurdy, who is now back to work in Wythenshawe Hospital – where he was treated for his injury, says he and his family have had tremendous support from “my local Muslim community, my wider community, leaders of all faiths, neighbours, school children, work colleagues, patients and many more even from overseas as far as Australia. The goodwill that has been expressed has left me overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of so many. This amazing support has been a very uplifting experience and contributed greatly to my recovery,” said Kurdy.


Kurdy said the incident has made him “more determined to be more actively involved in supporting anti-hate organisations and try to be as useful as I can. I have already expressed support to WeStandTogether. I attended the No2h8crime award ceremony as well as other organisations that stand against hate.”


Kurdy touched the hearts of many people when he spoke after the incident at the mosque about his forgiveness, and made a plea for everyone to unite.


“He is not representative of what this country stands for,” Kurdy said. “I have absolutely no anger or hate or anything negative towards him. I have declared it, I have totally forgiven him. He could be a marginalised person within his own community.”


Kurdy was also invited to his local football club, Altrincham FC, as part of the non-league weekend with an emphasis on promoting Equality and Diversity and kicking out racism and all forms of hate from football. “This incident is a wakeup call for me and for all of us not to just stand against Islamophobia, but against all forms of hate. By doing so, the Muslims become a relevant partner in stamping out this insidious illness in our society and not just a victim,” said Kurdy.


Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said: “This is a very nasty and unprovoked attack against a much-loved local man.”


Muslim leaders condemned the assault. Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Khan, said he was “shocked” at the stabbing of Kurdy.


A spokesman for the Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association, said: “It could have been very, very serious. The fact they attacked an orthopaedic consultant who devoted his life to helping others is really quite poignant.”


A 28-year-old man has been remanded in custody after appearing at court charged with Kurdy’s stabbing. Ian Anthony Rook, of no fixed abode, appeared at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on September 26 charged with a section 18 assault – wounding or causing grievous bodily harm – and possession of an offensive weapon, a large knife.


Rook will next appear in Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester on October 23.


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