Police say a man attacked congregants at a Mississauga mosque during a communal prayer, on Saturday morning.
At roughly 6:57 a.m., Peel Regional Police received a call regarding the incident, which occurred at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre near McAdam Road and Matheson Boulevard.
Officers claimed a man entered the mosque wielding a hatchet and allegedly sprayed bear spray at the gathering.
Members of the mosque, according to police, immediately controlled the man until officers arrived. The bear spray caused minor injuries to some mosque members.
The mosque’s imam, Ibrahim Hindy, wrote on social media that the violent attack took place during the dawn prayer.
“An individual came wielding an ax and carrying numerous other sharp edged weapons, as well as pepper spray,” he said. “Before he could inflict harm on any worshippers, several congregants bravely were able to stop him in his tracks.”
“Our community will never be broken and we refuse to be intimidated.”
Nadia Hasan, of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, said there were about 20 people in the mosque at the time of the attack. She said the man allegedly sprayed the worshippers while they prayed.
“Some very brave men tackled him to the ground and apprehended him until the police came,” she said. “There’s a lot of disbelief. A lot to process with just the level of potential violence that could have been caused here today if it wasn’t for those very brave men who did what they did.”
“We don’t know much about why they did what they did and we’re waiting for the police to investigate.”
Peel police remain at the scene, and say a 24-year-old man from Mississauga was taken into custody.
“12 Division Criminal Investigation Bureau is considering all possible motivations, including hate-motivation for the incident as charges are pending,” police said. “At this stage of the investigation, it appears to be an isolated incident.”
“Peel police will continue to be present in the area to offer reassurance to the community and the Mosque and provide additional support to those affected by the incident.”
Source_ The Canadian Press