On Sunday, March 19, police were called to the London Muslim Mosque where they arrested a 24-year-old man, Omid Ghaffouri, for making verbal threats and disturbing the religious worship space.
The individual allegedly threatened a shooting and was being disruptive after noon prayers on Sunday.
According to a press release by the London Police Service (LPS), it was determined that the individual was unarmed and the threat was not racially motivated.
“The individual was arrested without incident,” said Sandasha Boughs, media relations officer for London Police. “Nobody was injured and no firearm was recovered. If anybody has any additional information for us, they can give us a call.”
Asiya Barakzai, vice-president for public relations of Western Muslim Students’ Association (MSA), expressed that the incident was particularly distressing to the student community.
She said that the London Muslim Mosque is where many Muslim students from the University attend.
“It is basically home,” said Barakzai. “For us to know that there was a threat like this that happened, basically at where we usually are, it’s very scary.”
Barakzai said that it is difficult to understand how it wasn’t classified as a hate crime despite the ongoing Islamophobia in the media.
London Muslim Mosque also released a media report about Sunday's events. In the release, the Mosque stated that they appreciated LPS for their swift response regarding the incident. The mosque also thanked Mayor Matt Brown and the community for reaching out to them.
The mosque concluded that they are still open and will be operating according to its normal schedule.