Demonstrating a sense of courage and bravery, Muslim worshippers at a local mosque in the Canadian city of Mississauga managed to prevent a possible massacre as they overpowered a man wielding an axe and bear spray, attacking the mosque during Fajr prayer on Saturday.
This horrible incident occurred around 7 am when 24-year-old Moiz Oma walked into the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre and discharged the spray toward people who were praying.
“Today at the Fajr (dawn prayer) at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, our congregants were subject to a violent attack. An individual came wielding an ax and carrying numerous other sharp edged weapons, as well as pepper spray,” the mosque Imam Ibrahim Hindy wrote on Twitter.
“Before he could inflict harm on any worshippers, several congregants bravely were able to stop him in his tracks. We will be providing further comment as more information becomes available. We urge the Peel Police to continue to investigate all angles.
“Our community will never be broken and we refuse to be intimidated.”
Today at the Fajr (dawn prayer) at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, our congregants were subject to a violent attack.
An individual came wielding an ax and carrying numerous other sharp edged weapons, as well as pepper spray. (1/3
— Ibrahim Hindy (@Hindy500) March 19, 2022
According to the imam, one of those who had stopped the suspect was a 19-year-old man who was able to push him down, and then they were able to pin the attacker down and hold him down until the police were able to arrive.
Hindy further noted that no one was seriously injured but a “number of them are still feeling the effects of the pepper spray,” he told Anadolu Agency.
The attack triggered messages of solidarity with the Canadian Muslim community across the social media.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter described the incident as “incredibly disturbing” as he “strongly condemned” it.
“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,” he added.
The attack on congregants at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre is incredibly disturbing. 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.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 19, 2022
Others, including leader of Ontario Liberal Party Steven Del Duca, leader of the Ontario NDP Andrea Horwath, and leader of the Ontario PC Party Doug Ford have also condemned the attack.
I’m appalled by this frightening assault in Mississauga. This is why @nccm‘s #OurLondonFamilyAct to take meaningful action against Islamophobia is so important. Ontario Liberals continue to stand with the Muslim community against all acts of hate. #onpolihttps://t.co/uawVKMYNKX
— Steven Del Duca (@StevenDelDuca) March 19, 2022
1/ In response to an evil, violent act of Islamophobic hate, the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre community acted courageously to keep folks safe. We all stand with them.
— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) March 19, 2022
I am incredibly grateful for their heroism, and my heart goes out to the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre community who were attacked this morning.
There is NO place in our province for such evil and hateful acts. We must ensure those responsible are brought to justice.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) March 19, 2022
The attack comes amid rising concerns about Islamophobic attacks in provinces across Canada and widespread calls for authorities to tackle racism, hate-motivated violence, and the prevalence of far-right groups.
Statistics Canada said in March that police-reported hate crimes targeting Muslims “rose slightly” to 181 incidents in 2019 – the last year for which the data is available. That is up from 166 incidents the previous year.