"Places of worship should always be safe places": Politicians, residents react after intruder assaults imam in Toronto mosque

"Places of worship should always be safe places": Politicians, residents react after intruder assaults imam in Toronto mosque

Canadians are calling out for Islamophobia to be taken more seriously after an imam was allegedly assaulted during a morning prayer service at a Toronto mosque on Monday morning.

The Islamic Foundation of Toronto, located in Scarborough, said in a tweet that an intruder had disrupted the dawn prayer when he came inside the mosque and assaulted the imam before "two brave congregants quickly held him back and called 911".

The Foundation later released a statement on Twitter condemning the attack and encouraged the police to "keep all avenues of the investigation open," including potential hate motivation.

"Our hearts are deeply troubled and we know that many in our community are deeply concerned after an incident took place this morning," the official statement read.

"At this time, our priority is to ensure the safety of all congregants," they added.

The letter also urged community members to not speculate about the potential motivation "until the investigation has been concluded."

Toronto police are investigating into the matter and are yet to charge the individual.

Politicians, community members react

The National Council of Canadian Muslims expressed their concerns over the incident shortly after on Twitter.

"We are aware this morning of a terrifying attack during fajr prayer this morning at the IFT mosque in Scarborough, Toronto. We will be saying more as more information becomes available," the tweet read.

Canada's Council of Imam's (CCI) also issued a public statement and condemned the attack and announced their solidarity with all imams and members of the IFT.

The council recognized the imam attacked as Sheikh Yusuf Badat and said that although he's in good spirits, he's "highly traumatized along with the renewed concern of his congregation about their safety."

"The bravery of the congregants to prevent this ugly incident from escalating is truly remarkable and CCI strongly encourage all congregants to continue their increased vigilance," the statement further read.

Several politicians also expressed their concern over the incident on Twitter, including Mayor John Tory who said that "places of worship should always be safe places."

"I'm concerned about this morning's incident reported by @iftlive, and relieved to learn no one has been hurt," his tweet read.

MP and Canada’s Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino also called out Islamophobia on Twitter and said that "Canadians of all faiths should feel safe when practicing their religion".

"My thoughts are with the congregation at this difficult moment. We must call out Islamophobia whenever it rears its ugly head," his tweet read.

Community members react

The altercation took place at a mosque on Nugget Avenue, at the Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue East Area in Scarborough.

Police say the investigation remains an active one.