Rasoul Al-Musawi was closing up an Islamic prayer centre on Rosedale Avenue is Greenacre when the attack occurred, with friends claiming he was targeted by people claiming to be supporters of Islamic State.
Mr Al-Musawi was shot in the face and shoulder while he was with his wife and four of his children at the Husainiyah Nabi Akram centre.
Mr Al-Musawi’s friend – who did not wish to be named – is a Shiite Muslim and said the shooting in Greenacre was motivated by the sectarian struggle in the Middle East.
‘They called us "Shia dogs" and they threatened to come back down tonight and kill you, shoot you, whatever,’ he told ABC Radio on Monday.
The man said they had taken no notice of the threats made on the night of the shooting – which also included ‘IS lives forever’ – but then he received a phone call saying his friend had been shot.
‘He was walking his family home so he can come back and do the cleaning [at the Islamic Centre] and they shot him in front of his family,’ he said.
‘His wife, she just fainted.’
Mr Al-Musawi’s daughter said he was shot from behind and she and her father were leaving the Islamic prayer centre.
‘We heard two loud bangs. My dad just held his neck and ran inside,’ she told Network Ten.
‘All I see was blood running down his head and neck.’
He is now in a stable condition after undergoing surgery, and police described his wounds as ‘not life threatening’.
ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) refers to terror group Islamic State who are based in Syria and Iraq.
The extremist militants see Shiite Muslims as a threat to their end goal of establishing a caliphate in the Middle East.
A police spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia they were not disclosing which hospital he had been taken to due to his personal safety.
‘As a precautionary measure, we’re not giving that out,’ she said.
Well-known member of the Shiite community Jamal Daoud said this was not the first time worshippers had been targeted while they were trying to pay their respects during Ashura – a 10-day tradition which marks Imam Hussain’s death. Imam Hussain was the grandson of Prophet Muhammed.
Mr Daoud told The Sydney Morning Herald the centre had experienced a few attacks in recent days.
On Friday about 8pm, a security officer employed by the centre was attacked by three men who hit him in the face, Mr Daoud said.
He said the ‘extremists’ were deliberately trying to threaten the Shiite community and the people he had talked to were ‘very concerned’ and ‘very scared’.
‘This is very dangerous. It’s a warning something bigger could happen.’
In a statement, NSW Police said they would like to hear from anyone who may have seen a vehicle driving in the vicinity of the location at the time of the shooting.
Investigators are still yet to see if the two incidents are connected.
Members of the centre took care of the man’s injuries until paramedics arrived after taking him off the street and back inside the building he had just exited, 9News reported.