Mississauga mosque considers locking doors after hate-motivated attack

A Mississauga man has been arrested and charged in connection to a disturbing attack at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre. City's Melissa Nakhavoly reports.

By Lucas Casaletto

A mosque in Mississauga is considering keeping its doors locked during prayers after a man wielding an axe and bear spray interrupted an early-morning prayer and allegedly attacked congregants on Saturday.

Ibrahim Hindy, imam at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre, says a group of about 20 men praying in a room at the mosque on Saturday morning when a man entered and allegedly discharged bear spray towards people who were praying.

Hindy says a few congregants quickly subdued the alleged attacker until police arrived.

“Due to the recent attack, we are attempting to clean our carpets and run air purification due to the impact of the bear spray. We hope this will be resolved shortly insha’Allah,” Jazakum Allah Khayr wrote on Facebook.

A donation page has been set up through the Tawheed Community Centre.

Man, 24, charged concerning alleged attack

Peel Regional Police say 24-year-old Mohammad Moiz Omar faces several charges in what is believed to be a “hate-motivated incident.”

Speaking on behalf of the mosque, Nadia Hasan of the National Council of Canadian Muslims said a group of men were praying when the man sprayed them.

“Some of the men turned around, and they very bravely decided that they would not let him attack them,” she said. “They tackled him to the ground and apprehended him until the police showed up.”

Police said the congregants received minor injuries due to the bear spray.

“People are obviously quite shaken up and are recovering,” Hasan said.” For the most part, folks are still processing what’s happened and are trying to kind of see how they can ensure that their communities remain secure.”

Hindy says many people at the mosque are “really, deeply shaken” by the incident, which occurred just two weeks before the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

He says the mosque is considering various ways of beefing up its security, including keeping its doors locked after prayers begin to prevent similar incidents from happening.

Ford, Trudeau condemn actions

Canadian Prime Minister Justice Trudeau condemned the attack, calling it “incredibly disturbing” in a tweet. “I strongly condemn this violence — which has no place in Canada –, and I’m keeping the community in my thoughts today.

“I also want to applaud the courage of those who were there this morning.″

Premier Doug Ford, meanwhile, said, “There is NO place in our province for such evil and hateful acts. We must ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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