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Muslim doctor shot on way to pray at Texas mosque, reports say

One of the suspects pulled gun and shot Tajammul, who was able to make it to front entrance of mosque, where he collapsed
Madrasah Islamiah mosque in Houston (KTRK 13/screengrab)

A Muslim optometrist on his way to pray at a Houston, Texas, mosque was ambushed by three people and shot twice outside a nearby apartment complex, reports said.

Mohammed Imaduddin, a spokesman for the nearby Madrasah Islamiah mosque, said Dr Arslan Tajammul was on his way to 5:30am morning prayers when he was approached by three people on foot, according to KTRK, an ABC television affiliate.

Tajammul had parked along the street and was walking towards the mosque, Imaduddin told KTRK.

One of the suspects pulled a gun and shot Tajammul, who made it to the front entrance of the mosque, where he collapsed, KTRK said.

Tajammul is a native of Alberta, Canada, and graduated from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry, the Daily Beast reported. He had been active in Muslim communities in Canada, Florida, and Texas.

Tajammul was taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.

A friend staying with the doctor told KTRK he was shot twice, and will remain in ICU for 24 hours. He is expected to survive.

The victim was recently married and reportedly lives in the area.

Police said it appeared to be an attempted robbery outside the apartment complex. Eyewitnesses told police the three suspects ran off on foot after the attack.

Police said there was no indication this was a hate crime, but those who worship at the mosque are on edge.

Mustafaa Carroll, executive director of the Houston-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Texas, told Al Jazeera it was too early to know what motivated the attack.

Imaduddin said there were several children outside the mosque when the shooting occurred.

"It is very scary right now given the current political climate," Imaduddin told KTRK. "This is a community place, we have kids that come here; we have people young and old come here."

"These anti-Muslim attacks need to stop. Innocent people are getting hurt," Mufti Mohammed Wasim Khan, a Madrasah Islamiah official, told Al Jazeera.

"This is what they want, Americans attacking fellow Americans."

On Saturday, a Muslim man was also attacked near a mosque in Florida.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which tracks hate groups, said anti-Muslim attacks rose sharply in 2015.

CAIR and the Centre for Race and Gender at UC Berkeley reported that in 2015 there were about four times as many attacks on mosques as the previous year.