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Mosque Bomber in Mississauga, Ontario Pleads Guilty to 3 Counts, Planned ‘Mass Casualty Event’


A man who attacked worshipers at a mosque in Mississauga, Ontario, last year had been planning the attack for a year and was motivated by hatred and a desire to intimidate Muslims, court documents show.

Mohammad Moiz Omar “intended to perpetrate a mass casualty event” when he entered the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Center during morning prayer on March 19, 2022, and sprayed bear spray toward congregants while brandishing an axe, according to an agreed statement of facts read in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, Ontario. Wednesday.

Omar, who was 24 at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty to three charges, according to one of his attorneys, Jacob Roth of Robichaud Criminal Lawyers. Those charges include administering a noxious substance with the intent to endanger life or cause bodily harm, assault with a weapon, and damage to religious property motivated by religious bias, prejudice, or hatred.

“As part of his guilty plea, Mr. Omar acknowledged that guilt on those three counts constitutes terrorist activity,” Roth said in a phone call Wednesday.

The mosque’s imam, Ibrahim Hindy, said the revelations in court on Wednesday confirmed his community’s worst nightmare.

“It wasn’t someone having a bad day or a mental health episode. He was someone who clearly planned out what he wanted to do and how he wanted to kill Muslims,” Hindy said. “I’m just grateful that our congregation was able to stop him before he could finally harm someone.”

‘You are all terrorists,’ said the attacker

According to the factual statement, Omar entered the mosque at 7 am, when there were approximately 30 people gathered for morning prayer. He came up behind them and unloaded the bear spray as he swung the axe.

Parishioners heard him say, “I hate you” and “You are all terrorists” during the attack.

The attack was thwarted when parishioners pushed Omar to the ground and held him down.

While none of the worshipers were seriously injured, one was kicked in the stomach and several suffered side effects from the bear spray. Repairing the damage to the mosque cost $16,000.

Police who searched his car found various weapons and tools, including a large knife, a meat cleaver, a hammer, rope, drill bits, safety glasses, fire extinguishers, and an unknown chemical. Most were recently purchased from Canadian Tire.

A photo from the agreed statement of facts shows a large knife, a meat cleaver and an ax found on Omar’s person or in his car after the March 2022 mosque attack. (Ontario Superior Court of Justice)

Man Expressed Hatred For Islam: Court Document

While in custody, Omar told police that he had a Muslim background but considered himself an atheist.

He expressed his hatred for Islam and Muslims, and his disappointment that he was unable to inflict more serious harm on the victims.

The document says Omar told police he was “provoked” by what he called “an intolerant and violent religion.”

“The attack was also aimed at intimidating a segment of the public (Muslims) regarding their security,” he says.

Omar told police that he had tried to procure firearms for the attack but was unsuccessful and that he considered building a bomb but lacked the knowledge and skill to do so. He also told them that he had considered hitting other targets, including a different mosque and the Pakistani consulate, or using his car to run over Muslims.

“When asked if he hoped to inspire others to commit similar attacks, he commented: ‘In a sense, yes. You can always hope,'” the document says.

During a search of Omar’s home, investigators found a hard drive containing video footage of the March 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, where a white supremacist killed 51 people and injured 40 others. In comments to police, Omar said he enjoyed watching a woman get shot in that attack.

Police also found evidence that Omar tried to obtain a 3D printer capable of printing a firearm and sent himself emails that revealed “a high level of planning.”

Could have been a Quebec mosque-style attack: defender

Steven Zhou, spokesman for the National Council of Canadian Muslims, also praised the quick response from worshipers that day.

“If it weren’t for their bravery, we might very well have attended several funerals in addition to today’s proceedings,” Zhou said. “They could have been victims of another Quebec City-style attack, or the truck attack in London, Ontario, which happened a few months before this attack, or the murder of a caretaker at the IMO mosque in Rexdale, not far from here.”

Zhou said these attacks show a “trend of individuals violently attacking Muslims for who they are and what they believe” that all Canadians must confront.

In June, Canada’s Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office “consented to the initiation of a terrorism trial” against Omar. The terrorism classification allows prosecutors to seek harsher sentencing submissions than would apply to a common crime.

A man speaks into a microphone.
Iman Ibrahim Hindy of the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Center in Mississauga speaks to reporters after the guilty plea on Wednesday. (Dark Zdzienicki/CBC)

Roth, Omar’s attorney, said his client remains in custody while awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors and the defense have submitted a joint sentence submission of eight years in prison.

Hindy said that’s not enough.

“I think if someone wishes and conspires to commit mass murder in Canada, they deserve more than eight years in prison,” he said.

Omar will appear in court again on Tuesday for his sentencing hearing.

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