Man arrested after break-in at Montreal mosque Sunday morning

“We hear big noise, boom, we didn’t know what was going on,” said Mostafa Maghrawi after a man allegedly smashed his way into a downtown Montreal mosque early Sunday, amid morning prayers. He was arrested on mischief charges. Farah Mustapha reports.

By Farah Mustapha, OMNI News

The Canadian Muslim Forum shared a video on Twitter showing someone seemingly breaking into the front entrance of the Al Oumma Mosque in downtown, with worshippers inside, amid Ramadan.

The video shows the person using some sort of stick to break-in and when that doesn’t work, then the glass doors are shattered – and the man looks like he picks up a brick or rock that may have been used to break the glass, and go towards an inside entrance. The mosque’s security cameras capturing the incident early Sunday morning around 5a.m.

Three worshippers who were inside at the time during morning prayers are said to have tried to subdue the man, but he fled. No one was physically hurt.

“It was 5 in the morning here, we are already praying, because prayers when the Adan called, we pray, so one minute after the beginning, we hear big noise, boom, we didn’t know what was going on,” said Mostafa Maghrawi. “After there is a guy with big stone, he has something in his hand, imagine if he has a weapon to shoot people you know like in Quebec [City] a few years ago.”

Montreal police confirm they were called to the mosque on Saint-Dominique street and they arrested a 32-year-old man not far from the scene.

He was given a summons to appear in court on charges of mischief and released.

After investigating, police say this is not being treated as a hate crime. They say they have no indication that it is, but hate crime investigators continue to be part of the case as this did occur at a place of worship.

“I don’t feel safe, yeah I feel like I am in danger you know, that’s happened, this is not the first time,” added Maghrawi.

“Hateful attack committed at the Al Oumma mosque in Montreal yesterday. I hope this Islamophobic attack will be fully investigated by the @SPVM! The faithful should feel safe when they gather for their prayers,” tweeted Liberal MP for the Ville-Marie district Marc Miller.

“I’m in the neighbourhood since many years, it was safe,” said Salman Harshani, a member of the Muslim community. “I am afraid to come to the mosque now.”

“The thing that happened in the morning, shows that the person who came here knows the time of the prayer, my question is it an individual only or a group behind.”

 “Some brothers think that they can’t come to the masjid because there is no peace in the masjid, the masjid is a place for peace,” said Said Fawaz, Imam of Al Oumma Mosque.

“We respect everybody. Why somebody didn’t respect us? We didn’t make any bad thing for the others. We are Canadian citizens, we have to have our rights as the others – religion, community, and for that we need others to respect us, as we respect them.”

Al Oumma Mosque Montreal break-in

Al Oumma Mosque in Montreal on Saint-Dominique. April 10, 2023. (CREDIT: Matt Tornabene, CityNews Image)

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