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A 24-year-old man who brandished a hatchet and assaulted worshippers with bear spray at a mosque in Canada on Saturday has been charged in what’s believed to be a “hate-motivated incident,” authorities mentioned.
The assault unfolded simply earlier than 7 a.m. throughout daybreak prayer on the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, Peel Regional Police mentioned.
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The person, recognized as Mohammad Moiz Omar, a 24-year-old man from Mississauga, walked into the mosque and allegedly “discharged bear spray towards people in the mosque while brandishing a hatchet,” authorities said in a news release.
About 20 males have been praying on the mosque when Omar sprayed them, Nadia Hasan, of the Nationwide Council of Canadian Muslims, mentioned on behalf of the mosque.
“Some of the men turned around and they very bravely decided that they were not going to let him attack them,” she mentioned. “They tackled him to the ground and apprehended him until the police showed up.”
Police mentioned worshippers suffered minor accidents from the bear spray.
Omar faces a number of costs together with assault with a weapon, administering a noxious substance with intent to hazard life or trigger bodily hurt, possession of a weapon for a harmful goal, utter risk to trigger demise or bodily hurt, carrying a hid weapon and mischief to spiritual property.
Canadian Prime Minister Justice Trudeau condemned the assault in a Twitter post, calling it “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. “I also want to applaud the courage of those who were there this morning.”
Ontario Premier Doug Ford additionally condemned the violence and applauded the heroism of the congregants.
“There is NO place in our province for such evil and hateful acts,” Ford tweeted. “We must ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”
The Related Press contributed to this report.