Incident at Calgary mosque not believed to be hate-motivated

Police have taken one man into custody after an incident Friday at the Akram Jomaa Mosque in northeast Calgary.

It is not considered a hate-motivated crime as the man is known to those at the mosque.

Police say they responded to reports of a disturbance shortly after noon on Friday, and though initial witness statements to news media said the suspect had a gun, that was not the case. 

“Upon arrival, police encountered a man armed with a knife,” reads a statement. “The man was taken into custody with minor injuries and no one else was injured.”

Saima Jamal said she pulled into the parking lot in time to see police running to the mosque with guns drawn and worshippers rushing out of the building. 

She said during the arrest she and others could see through a window into the mosque and that the officers inside were looking through a bag.

“After at least 10 minutes, they finally take out a guy out of the mosque. He’s this pretty fair-skinned guy with a long beard,” said Jamal. 

She said people outside were scared and flustered. 

“We thought initially that it was some guy, you know, the story is so familiar, coming to the mosque to kill people who are worshipping peacefully,” said Jamal. 

She said she was told it was an argument over a mask that started the incident, but police said that was not a factor. 

More to come.…

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