The charges against Mohammad Moiz Omar, a 24-year-old Mississauga resident, include assault with a weapon; administration of harmful substances for the purpose of endangering life or causing bodily harm; possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose; total threat of causing death or bodily injury; carrying concealed weapons; and infringement of religious property, according to the notice.
Noonrani Sairally, who has attended the mosque for more than a decade, told CNN Monday that he heard a noise about seven to 10 minutes after the congregation started morning prayer.
“I heard a hissing sound over the sound system followed by a scream, and as I turned around, I saw this man with a can of bear spray and an ax in his hand,” he said.
Sairally said that was when worshipers, who had lined up in the middle of the mosque, immediately approached the attacker and squeezed him to the ground.
“He (the attacker) was not aware that the spray was making noise, so he immediately warned people in the front row,” Sairally said. “One of the young guys in that row saw the battle ax and acted very quickly to knock it out of his hand. Then everyone quickly jumped on him and pushed him to the floor.”
The attacker said nothing as worshipers waited for police to arrive because he had inhaled bear spray and was having trouble breathing, Sairally said.
Worshipers sustained minor injuries from the bear spray, police said.
Omar had a bail hearing before the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton on Saturday.
“Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and we take this matter extremely seriously,” said Superintendent Rob Higgs, head of the 12th Division in the release. “This is an ongoing investigation led by the 12 Division Criminal Investigations Bureau, and we will continue to work closely with our community partners as our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Divisional Mobilization Officers continue to engage with faith leaders and community members.”
Mississauga is about 15 miles southwest of Toronto in the province of Ontario.