The Jewish umbrella group in the UK has expressed solidarity with a south Manchester mosque after a Muslim surgeon was stabbed in the neck while arriving for evening prayers.

Board of Deputies’ public affairs director Phil Rosenberg expressed sadness after hearing news that Dr Nasser Kurdy, an orthopaedic surgeon and imam, had been attacked outside Altrincham and Hale Mosque.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are treating the 6pm attack at the Altrincham Islamic centre on Grove Lane as a hate crime, after Kurdy was taken to hospital for treatment to a non-critical 3cm stab wound.

“Dr Kurdy and the whole community are in our thoughts and prayers,” said Rosenberg on Monday. “These terrorists may wish to sow division, but they only succeed in bringing us closer together.”

Police have arrested two men aged 54 and 32 in relation to the attack, a GMP spokesman saying: “We have two people in custody who were arrested a short time after the call came in but need people who witnessed the attack or those who have information to contact us.”

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said it was “a very nasty and unprovoked attack against a much-loved local man,” adding that officers were “not looking for any other suspects”.