Worshipers at Canadian mosque subdue hatchet-wielding attacker, police say

By Rebekah Riess and Ray Sanchez, CNN

(CNN) – Worshipers at a mosque in the Canadian city of Mississauga on Saturday subdued a man who discharged bear spray while brandishing a hatchet in what police said was a possible hate crime.

Mohammad Moiz Omar, a 24-year-old Mississauga resident, was arrested at the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre about 7 a.m. local time during the dawn prayer of Fajr, Peel Regional Police said in a statement.

“Before he could inflict harm on any (worshipers), several congregants bravely were able to stop him,” the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre said in Facebook statement.

The mosque statement said the man was also armed with “numerous other sharp edged weapons.”

Worshipers sustained minor injuries from the bear spray, police said.

“The members of the Mosque quickly subdued the man until police arrived,” police said in a statement.
Investigators were considering “all possible motivations, including hate-motivation” for the assault, which appeared to be an “isolated incident,” police said. Charges were pending.

Police will remain “in the area to offer reassurance to the community and the Mosque and provide additional support,” the statement said.

Mississauga is about 15 miles southwest of Toronto in the province of Ontario.

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