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‘It’s a scar’: Mosque in Mississauga looks to beef up security after attack

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Members of a mosque in Mississauga, Ont., are nonetheless coming to grips with what occurred after a man wielding an axe and bear spray attacked congregants throughout an early-morning prayer, a volunteer on the mosque who witnessed the incident mentioned Sunday.

“We’re all trying to shake it off,” mentioned Noorani Sairally, who was one of many roughly 20 males praying in a room on the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre when the attack unfolded on Saturday morning.

“It’s a scar that is going to take a long time before it goes away. But at the same time, we’re not going to let this deter us from coming to the mosque.”

WATCH | Man arrested at Ontario mosque after attacking worshippers:

Man arrested at Ontario mosque after attacking worshippers

Police had been known as to the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, Ont., west of Toronto, on Saturday morning after a man attacked the congregation gathered for prayer with bear spray whereas ‘brandishing a hatchet.’ Worshippers restrained the attacker, who was later taken into custody. 2:12

When he heard screaming shortly after the prayer started, Sairally’s thoughts mechanically turned to different assaults on mosques: the 2017 taking pictures in Quebec City, and those in 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand.

But when he circled, he mentioned, he noticed a man with a can of bear spray in one hand and an axe in one other, who began spraying the congregants that had been assembled in two rows.

Sairally mentioned a few males in one row received sprayed, whereas some in the opposite row reacted rapidly to subdue the person. Others ran outdoors as a result of the spray made it “unbearable to breathe,” he added.

“There was one young congregant who immediately noticed the axe in [the man’s] hand and immediately knocked it off to the ground. And then that’s when everybody kind of jumped on him to wrestle him to the ground,” Sairally recalled.

“It was a very frightening, scary moment.”

‘Incredibly brave and heroic’

Due to the remnants of the spray in the air, Sairally mentioned the males dragged the attacker to one other praying space and pinned him down till police arrived.

He alleged the person additionally had a bag containing “many” different weapons, together with one other axe, knives, different sharp objects and a bear spray canister.

Now, the mosque is popping its consideration to security.

“We want to make sure that we have an internal security system put in place to make sure all the families that come in with the children and so forth feel safe and they can worship with peace and tranquillity,” Sairally mentioned.

In a telephone interview, Ibrahim Hindy, imam on the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre who’s at present in Saudi Arabia, known as the lads who subdued the attacker “incredibly courageous and heroic,” saying he was grateful that no person was critically harm — or worse.

Peel Regional Police mentioned Mohammad Moiz Omar, 24, was arrested in connection to the incident, which is believed to be “hate-motivated,” and appeared in courtroom in Brampton, Ont., on Saturday.

Man dealing with a number of fees

Police mentioned Omar is dealing with a number of fees together with assault with a weapon, administering a noxious substance with intent to endanger life or trigger bodily hurt, possession of a weapon for a harmful function, uttering threats, carrying a hid weapon and mischief to non secular property.

Hindy mentioned the mosque has requested police to improve their presence in the realm in the approaching days.

The mosque can be contemplating varied methods to beef up its security to stop related incidents from occurring, he mentioned, particularly with the holy month of Ramadan approaching in two weeks.

“We basically were under two lockdowns during Ramadan, so people are really excited for the first time to be back at the mosque. And now there’s all this worry … about security,” Hindy mentioned.

“Do we have to take steps of locking the mosque after a certain time, which then leaves people outside of the mosque, which is kind of the same thing as a lockdown? Yeah, I mean, those are the conversations we’re having right now.”

Several politicians and group members have shared their help with the mosque and the Muslim group in the wake of the incident, together with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford.

On Sunday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh chimed in as properly.

“Love, strength and solidarity to Muslims across Canada,” Singh mentioned in a tweet.

“As we hear about the chilling account of yet another Mosque and its congregants being subject to a violent attack — you are not alone.”

The incident occurred lower than a 12 months after 4 members of a Muslim household, who had been out for a night stroll, had been run down and killed by a car in London, Ont., in what police have known as an attack motivated by hate.

“Unfortunately, there’s a target on our backs, and we have to be incredibly vigilant and always look out for signs of unusual behaviour,” Hindy mentioned.


This story was produced with the monetary help of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship



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