Serif Zorba was arrested Sunday for allegedly stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib of the Omar Mosque in Paterson, New Jersey.
CNN  — 

The 32-year-old man accused of stabbing an imam at a mosque Sunday in New Jersey pleaded not guilty to an attempted murder charge in court Monday afternoon.

Serif Zorba was arrested for allegedly stabbing Imam Sayed Elnakib of the Omar Mosque in Paterson. Elnakib, who is in stable condition, was stabbed during the first prayer of the day around 5:30 a.m. while the congregation was kneeling, mosque spokesperson Abdul Hamdan told CNN.

Surveillance video of the incident shows a group of worshippers at the mosque positioned in five long rows. As they knelt down in prayer, a person wearing a hoodie in the third row moved to the front of the room, stepping over other worshippers, and then thrust his right hand into the back of the kneeling imam, the video shows.

The congregation then rose together, and the assailant tried to push through the crowd and flee out of the back of the mosque, the video shows.

Zorba was charged with first-degree attempted murder, third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, and fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon, according to a news release from the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office.

Zorba, a native of Istanbul, also pleaded not guilty to the unlawful weapon possession charges. His plea was entered Monday by a public defender on Zorba’s behalf.

The suspect appeared in court before Paterson Municipal Court Judge Vincenzo Stampone wearing an orange jumpsuit, with his long hair mostly covering his face. Zorba communicated with court officials through a Turkish translator.

When Stampone asked Zorba about his current address, Zorba indicated that he lived in Paterson but did not offer a proper address.

Zorba is being held on pretrial detention. His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

The prosecutor’s office said they could not provide any further details on Zorba’s possible motive, citing the ongoing investigation.

The maximum sentence for his alleged crimes is around 26 years, according to the release.