The Muslim community in Edson is shaken after someone tried to set fire to a local mosque on the evening of Saturday, June 16, as dozens of people were leaving evening prayers.
Witnesses said they observed a hooded individual approach the south entrance of the mosque around 11 p.m. and set fire to the building.
Jocelyn Pettitt with the Islamic Society of Edson said police and firefighters arrived on scene quickly and were able to prevent extensive damage from occuring.
Pettitt said people were leaving the mosque and many were still in the parking lot when they witnessed the incident.
It happened at a time when Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
Mosque officials are reviewing security footage with police.
Pettitt called the incident “concerning” to the local community, but said the Town of Edson has been very supportive of the Muslim community and this was the first incident at the mosque since it first opened its doors in 2003.
Premier Rachel Notley released a statement about the incident, calling it “an affront to all Albertans.”
“I know I speak for the overwhelming majority of my fellow citizens in condemning this violence in the strongest possible terms,” the statement read.
“Alberta’s Muslim community contributes enormously to the cultural and economic fabric of our province, something we saw on proud display just a couple days ago at Eid al-Fitr events across Alberta. To learn someone set fire to a mosque just after evening prayers is sickening.”
Notley added the province will defend the Muslim community from “those who perpetrate such acts of hate.”
RCMP confirmed they are investigating an arson at the Edson Mosque.
Police are also asking anyone with information to come forward.