Sketch released in mosque stabbing; possible hate crime

November 19, 2012 3:43:26 AM PST
It is crystal clear when looking at Bashir Ahmad that the 57-year-old cheated death. He is covered with stitches, almost too many to count.

Eyewitness News visited him on Sunday night in Hillcrest, Queens, hours after he was violently stabbed outside the Masjid Saaliheen mosque.

Those showing up for prayer on Sunday afternoon were stunned to see crime scene detectives going over every inch of Masjid Saaliheen and a trail of blood leading away from the house of worship. Friends tell Eyewitness News that Ahmad was rushed to New York Hospital Queens, where doctors gave him dozens of stitches in order to close his severe wounds.

The violent attack unfolded on Sunday morning just before 5 a.m. inside a stairway near a common area between the mosque and neighboring business. Since the stabbing occurred near the mosque, police are investigating whether it was a possible hate crime. Authorities have also released a sketch of the man they are looking for.

"He had him from the backside, his head, also he bit his nose," worshipper Ehtashamuo Hhuge said. "Twelve stitches, this is very horrible."

While detectives gathered the evidence, the upstairs section of the mosque was closed. Instead, members gathered downstairs.

"He was a very nice person," Hhuge said. "He came early in the morning to open the door, sit in my mosque and prepare everything. It is really unexpected."

"Five times a day, every day, he makes the call," worshipper Faruk Baber said. "You hear it outside on the speakers, a very friendly, very pleasant personality."

As of Sunday evening, Ahmad was at home resting after his injuries.

Detectives are searching surveillance cameras around the mosque for clues.

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