A doctor on his way to a Houston mosque for morning prayers was reportedly surrounded by three people and shot on Sunday. The incident follows an allegedly religiously-motivated attack at the mosque of the Orlando shooter in Florida the day before.
According to Mohammed Imaduddin, the spokesperson for the Madrasah Islamiah Masjid Noor, the victim had parked his car along the street at around 5:30 am and was walking towards the entrance of the prayer house when the masked assailants appeared.
One of them pulled out a gun, shooting the doctor twice, before the gang fled on foot. The victim was able to attract attention by throwing his phone towards the mosque. A scramble then ensued as worshippers and police flooded the scene.
The man has been taken to hospital and is expected to recover, though he will be kept there overnight.
He has been identified as Arslan Tajammul, an eye specialist, in his 30s. No suspects or motives have emerged, although officials have launched an appeal for witnesses to come forward.
"Police said it was an attempted robbery so we're waiting to see what the investigation finds. It's a real strange occurrence because the mosque is in a poor neighborhood, and they were wearing masks, which could mean all kinds of things," said Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Houston branch of the Muslim rights group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“It is very scary right now given the current political climate,” Imaduddin, who was observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan along with the congregation, told local news station ABC 13. “From what I hear, this is the third incident this week in the Houston area involving a Muslim getting shot. This is a community place, we have kids that come here; we have people young and old come here.”