HomeDomesticMississauga mosque attack suspect now facing terrorism charges

Mississauga mosque attack suspect now facing terrorism charges

A man who allegedly attacked worshippers at a Mississauga, Ont., mosque earlier this year is now facing terrorism charges, Peel Region police said on Wednesday.

Police said Mohammad Moiz Omar entered the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre on March 19 and allegedly attacked those inside with bear spray while brandishing a hatchet.

The 24-year-old man was arrested and charged with several criminal offices.

On Wednesday, police said the offences Omar is charged with constitute terrorist activity under the Criminal Code.

He faces charges that include two counts of assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public, mischief to religious property and uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm — all of which now are part of the terrorism proceedings against him.

Police said the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and Attorney General of Canada agreed Wednesday to the commencement of terrorism proceedings in the case.

“This incident has deeply impacted Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre members and carries rippling impacts throughout our community. People should expect to be able to gather peacefully and safely without fear,” Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah wrote in a statement.

“Our service is committed to continue to working with our partners and the community to ensure that hate and violence have no place in our community.”

READ MORE: Worshippers subdue man who allegedly carried out attack at mosque in Mississauga, Ont.

The mosque and the National Council of Canadian Muslims, a national advocacy group, welcomed in a joint statement charging Omar with terrorism charges and condemned the attack.

The Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre in Mississauga is seen on Saturday, March 19, 2022. (CP24/Kenneth Enlow)

“It just goes to show how violent Islamophobia continues to be an existential threat to our community members,” said the mosque’s imam, Ibrahim Hindy.

“I hope today will be the first step towards justice when it comes to this shocking and violent incident that could have been so much worse if it weren’t for the courage of our community members.”

The mosque and the NCCM say attendees of the morning prayer service when the attack happened are traumatized and many have sought mental health services.

“This isn’t the first time that our places of worship have been violated in one way or another,” NCCM lawyer Nusaiba Al-Azem said.

“Our community needs to heal, but that starts with seeing justice carried through when it comes to the person who could have destroyed so many more lives that morning.”

Police have previously said they believe the incident was motivated by hate.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2022.

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