NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police have released a sketch of a suspect wanted for stabbing a man outside a mosque in Queens.

Around 5 a.m. Sunday, police were called to the Masijid-Saaliheen mosque on Kissena Boulevard. When they arrived, they found the 57-year-old victim stabbed in the torso.

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The victim, a devout Muslim who asked only to be called by his first name Bashir, told CBS 2 the attack happened as he was arriving for morning prayers.

“There was some problem with the lock. That’s why he was somewhat delayed in opening,” said police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “Maybe the locked had been tampered with, perhaps to delay him. We’re not certain.”

The assailant came up from the back and attacked Bashir.

“He hit me. Hit me, hit me, hit me. For like six or seven — I don’t know how many,” Bashir said.

Bashir said he was stabbed repeatedly all over his back, head, side, leg and finger. He said the suspect was shouting expletives at him during the attack.

“(Expletive) Muslim. I will kill Muslim,” Bashir said the suspect told him.

At one point, Bashir said he held down his attacker’s arms, and the suspect bit him.

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“The knife hand, I take the hand,” Bashir said. “He takes a (bite) like that; takes my nose in his mouth.”

Bashir was treated at Queens General Hospital and released.

Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic man about 35 to 45 years old, around six feet tall weighing 180 pounds, police said. He was last seen wearing a blue baseball cap, a black jacket and blue jeans and possibly wearing glasses.

Kelly said police have some leads and expect to make an arrest I the near future.

Investigators are checking out security video from a nearby store.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or visit

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