The Calgary Police Service received a call shortly after noon about a man with a knife inside the Akram Jomaa Islamic Center in the 2600 block of 37th Avenue N.E.
Officers arrived quickly and deployed an Arwen Less Lethal launcher to help take the man into custody, said police.
Saima Jamal said she had just parked and was walking towards the mosque when she witnessed police running inside with guns.
“I ran near the mosque window because I was too scared to go in,” said Jamal. “Within 10 minutes, they came out with this guy … it was very, very scary. My heart was just thumping in my chest.”
Jamal said the man, whom she described as fair-skinned with a long beard, lost his temper before prayer began.
He pulled a knife on people inside the building but was escorted to the back of a police vehicle by officers shortly after, she said.
“It’s like your worst nightmare. I’ve played it so many times in my mind, what would happen if someone brought a weapon inside the mosque, because there are so many instances.
“Then it was happening right in front of me.”
Police said the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime as the man was known to people in attendance.
They also said the incident was not related to COVID-19 orders, despite claims made by an onlooker that the man refused to wear a mask while in attendance.
The suspect is currently in hospital with minor injuries and charges are pending. No other injuries were reported.
“I come here every Friday to a place of peace and security,” said Jamal. “It’s sacred. It’s where you come to be with God.
“I know some people lose their mind when you ask them to wear a mask but this is just crazy … I’m so, so thankful to God that no one was hurt. That’s the most important thing, but you can’t get over it.”
She said the fear will stick with her.
Source: The Calgary Herald