Toronto mosque worshippers subdue man attacking people with bear spray

Mar 20, 2022: During dawn Fajr prayers in a Toronto suburb, worshipers confronted and subdued a 24-year-old man who allegedly entered their mosque and attacked people with bear spray, according to local police.

Peel Regional Police said the man walked into the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, and allegedly “discharged bear spray towards people in the mosque while brandishing a hatchet″ just before 7am.

Nadia Hasan, of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, made a statement on behalf of the mosque saying there were some 20 men praying in the mosque at the time.

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

“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.″

Local police said the congregants received minor injuries as a result of the bear spray and that a man, Mohammad Moiz Oma from the suburb of Mississauga has been arrested.

Police are considering “all possible motivations″ for the incident, and charges are pending. Investigators think the incident was an isolated act and are considering hate as a possible motive, police said in a statement.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put out a tweet condemning the assault as “incredibly disturbing”.

“I strongly condemn this violence – which has no place in Canada – and I’m keeping the community in my thoughts today,” Trudeau wrote.

In Ontario in June, while driving a pickup truck, a man deliberately ran over a Pakistani-Canadian family, killing four people of the same family.

In 2017, six worshipers were shot dead and more than a dozen were injured after gunmen opened fire on worshipers at a Quebec mosque. The shooting, which Trudeau called a “terrorist attack,” sparked a debate in the country over Islamophobia.

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