Man Armed With Hatchet, Bear Spray Attacks Mosque

He was subdued by worshipers at Canadian mosque
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2022 2:01 PM CDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the courage of worshipers at a Toronto-area mosque after they fended off an attacker armed with a hatchet and bear spray. Police say the attacker was subdued by worshipers at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Center in Mississauga Saturday morning, the CBC reports. Mohammad Moiz Omar, 24, was arrested and charged in connection with what is "believed to be a hate-motivated incident," police said in a press release. Nadia Hasan, chief operating officer of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, says about 20 people were in the mosque when the man attacked during morning prayers.

One witness says somebody knocked the hatchet out of the attacker's hand and others wrestled him to the ground, the Washington Post reports. Mosque members told City News that the attacker kept saying "I hate Muslims" as they held him down. The attacker was armed with "numerous other sharp edged weapons" as well as the hatchet he brandished at worshipers, imam Ibrahim Hindy said in a statement, per CNN. Omar has been charged with offenses including assault with a weapon, administering a noxious substance with intent to endanger life, and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm.

In a tweet, Trudeau called the violence "incredibly disturbing." "I strongly condemn this violence—which has no place in Canada," he said. "I also want to applaud the courage of those who were there this morning." The mosque remained open after the bear spray dissipated. Hindy said there will be a police presence at the mosque for the next few days and they are looking at increasing security measures. "Our community will never be broken and we refuse to be intimidated," the imam said. (In 2017, a far-right extremist killed six people at a Quebec City mosque.)

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