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One in custody after man armed with knife interrupts prayer at Calgary mosque

Click to play video: 'Man armed with a knife arrested at northeast Calgary mosque' Man armed with a knife arrested at northeast Calgary mosque
WATCH: Calgary police have arrested a man who was armed with a knife, who interrupted noon prayers at a mosque in the northeast. – Jan 8, 2021

Friday’s noon prayers were interrupted at a northeast Calgary mosque by a man brandishing a knife. Attendee Zouhair Osman said prayers got underway just before noon.

“About 10 minutes into it, I heard a noise in the back,” Osman told Global News. “It was a man swinging a knife at people in the prayers.”

“So I went, moved everybody out of the way, tried to calm him down, took a few minutes to try to calm him down.

“He wouldn’t calm down, he kept swinging the knife at us — especially me.”

Police said they responded to the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre on 37 Ave N.E. after receiving a call around 12:10 p.m. to try to apprehend the man.

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The man was arrested and taken to hospital with minor injuries.

While taking the man into custody, witnesses and CPS said officers used their less-lethal ARWEN launcher, which can fire 37-mm plastic, wood or foam rounds, along with tear gas and smoke. 

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Members of the Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre, pictured on Jan. 8, 2021, during a police response to a call of a man armed with a knife. Global News
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The Akram Jomaa Islamic Centre,pictured on Jan. 8, 2021, during a police response to a call of a man armed with a knife. Global News

Osman said he didn’t know the man, “but he’s someone I’ve seen here before.”

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“It sounds like he snapped,” Osman said.

CPS said there were no injuries as a result of the incident and they are not investigating it as a hate crime.

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