A top Muslim British surgeon who treated victims of the Manchester Arena bombing has described the moment he was stabbed in the neck as he walked into his mosque in an unprovoked attack police are treating as a hate crime.
Just hours after the horrific ordeal, Nasser Kurdy, 58, told the Manchester Evening News that he had already forgiven his attacker.
The consultant orthopaedic surgeon, who works at Wythenshawe Hospital, was stabbed in the back of his neck as he walked into the Islamic Cultural Centre in Hale shortly before 5.50pm on Sunday.
Unaware the knifeman had fled, Mr Kurdy picked up a chair ready to defend other worshippers at the mosque.
Video footage from inside the mosque shows how the father-of-three stemmed the bleeding from his own wound before the emergency services arrived.
He was rushed to Wythenshawe where he was treated by colleagues before being allowed home.
Speaking from his home in Hale, Mr Kurdy – who treated seriously injured victims of the Manchester Arena bombing immediately after the atrocity – thanked the ‘absolutely brilliant’ emergency services and said:
“It’s shocking something like this can happen within our community.
He suffered a three-inch wound to the back of his neck, and says he is lucky not to have been been seriously injured.
“I was just going to the centre on Sunday evening on my own for mid-afternoon prayers. I was a couple of minutes late and only just entered the grounds when it happened.
It happened from behind me. I was told later it was a knife in my neck. It was painful. As a surgeon, I could tell immediately none of the vital structures were affected. I just put pressure on my neck. I probably only bled a little bit.
Looking back I was pragmatic about it because of my profession and my age. We phoned for the police and the ambulance and a lot of the other worshippers at the centre were supporting me. My main concern was that he wasn’t going to come in.
I think it was a totally non-personal random attack. I was just the person at that time. Waking up this morning, I would say I’m extremely lucky.
You have major nerves in your neck that work your arm. None have been affected. You have vessels going up to your head. None of those have been affected.
It could have gone to my lungs. It could have involved nerves along my spine and it could have gone into the neck itself. Thankfully, none of that happened. It was a random attack and if it’s going to end up the way it has then I’m extremely lucky.”
Endorsing the M.E.N’s #westandtogether campaing which aims to get peace studies into schools, Mr Kurdy added: “I fully support any campaign which brings cohesion and harmony to the community through understanding and participation.”
He described how colleagues, including his trainee, treated him for about three hours at the hospital, cleaning the wound and stitching it up.
Revealing he has already forgiven his attacker, he said:
“I have absolutely no grievance, no hate and no anger or any ill-feeling towards the perpetrator. I’m not angry so I don’t want other people to get angry on my behalf.”
Forgiveness, showing mercy and compassionate are all core to Islamic teachings and beliefs as Allah (God Almighty) says in many places in the Quran to do just that, such as in 3:134:
“The believers are those who spend in charity during ease and hardship and who restrain their anger and pardon the people, for Allah loves the doers of good.”
And Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has reported to have said in the book of Musnad Ahmad 7001:
“Be merciful to others and you will receive mercy. Forgive others and Allah will forgive you.”
Married Mr Kurdy, who has two boys, aged 13 and 20, and a girl aged 22, is a UK national of Jordanian and Syrian heritage. He is vice-chair of the Altrincham and Hale Islamic Association which itself is part of the Altrincham Interfaith Group.
Praising staff at the hospital, where he has worked since 1998, he said: “All the emergency services were absolutely brilliant yesterday and the staff at the hospital were incredible. They were supportive, professional, courteous. To be on the other end of my profession was an eye-opening experience.
The support I have had from the community has been imense. I have had emails from India, Pakistan and the Middle East, all praying for us.”
Two men, aged 54 and 32, have been arrested in connection with the attack and were still being quizzed by detectives.
Trafford council leader Sean Anstee has spoken of his shock at the attack on Dr Kurdy describing it as a “senseless and cowardly attack on a respected member of our community”.
Coun Anstee continued:”The local community are understandably shocked and concerned by this attack, which happened in an area known for its good community relations and is generally considered very safe.
“I would like to reassure people of our ongoing discussions and continued work with police, community and religious leaders to review and improve safety in our borough. My thoughts are with Dr Kurdy and his family and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.”
Coun Anstee has added his voice backing the MEN’s #WeStandTogether campaign.
He added: ” In the meantime I encourage people to support the ‘We Stand Together’ campaign, launched across Greater Manchester yesterday, which aims to teach all children how to solve problems peacefully, encourage acts of kindness and fight hate crime.”