A doctor who was stabbed in the neck on his way to a mosque in a suspected hate crime said he "feared the worst".
Consultant surgeon Dr Nasser Kurdy was attacked outside the Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association at about 17:50 BST on Sunday.
Dr Kurdy, who has been discharged from hospital, said he has "forgiven" his attacker and feels "no negative emotions".
Two men, aged 32 and 54, are being held for questioning over the attack.
The 58-year-old was on his way to the mosque, where he is the vice-chairman and has led prayers, when the incident happened.
The orthopaedic surgeon, who works at Wythenshawe Hospital, said it was a "total shock" but added it "could've been much worse".
"From my profession I know that you get a blow like that, invariably it's a stabbing even though you don't feel a cut," he said.
"There's a lot of vital structures in that area and some of them can be fatal, there's no two ways about it, and some of them can be very disabling."
When asked about reportedly Islamophobic comments shouted at the time of the attack, Dr Kurdy said he can't divulge anything as his statement is with the police.
Greater Manchester Police have asked for any witnesses to come forward.
Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said it was a "nasty and unprovoked attack" to a "much-loved" man.
Dr Khalid Anis, a spokesman for the mosque, said: "It could have been very, very serious...We understand it was a knife, he is very lucky.
"It's a very unified town so for this to happen like this in the street, it is frightening."
Akram Malik, chairman of the Altrincham and Hale Muslim Association, added: "It is devastating that someone has chosen to attack a community member, on his way to prayer.
"We pray that Dr Kurdy makes a full recovery and the perpetrator faces the full force of justice."
'Motivated by hate'
Iftikhar Awan, who attends the mosque with his wife and children, said the community was "in a state of shock".
ACC Jackson added: "People will want to know why the attacker did this and we are treating this as a crime motivated by hate."
He said there would be an increased police presence in the areas to "reassure local people".
The Muslim Council of Britain said it was shocked by the attack and urged the government to implement its "hate crime action plan".