March 19 (UPI) — A man wielding a hatchet was restrained by worshippers at a mosque in Canada who held him until police were able to arrest him.
Mohammad Moiz Omar, 24, had interrupted a dawn prayer at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga around 7 a.m. and discharged bear spray at members of the mosque while brandishing the hatchet, Peel Regional Police said in a statement.
“An individual came wielding an ax and carrying numerous other sharp-edged weapons, as well as pepper spray,” the mosque said in a statement. “Before he could inflict harm on any worshippers, several congregants bravely were able to stop him in his tracks.”
Police said that nobody was injured by the hatchet but that some members of the mosque suffered minor injuries from the bear spray.
Nadia Hasan of the National Council of Canadian Muslims told news outlet CP24 that about 20 people were inside the mosque at the time of the incident.
Investigators will work to determine whether the attack had any hate motivations, police said. Officials added that the attack appeared to be an isolated incident.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement calling the incident “incredibly disturbing.”
“I strongly condemn this violence — which has no place in Canada — and I’m keeping the community in my thoughts today,” Trudeau said. “I also want to applaud the courage of those who were there this morning.”