RCMP investigating after worshiper nearly hit by vehicle outside B.C. mosque, police say


Police are investigating reports that a Ramadan worshiper was nearly hit by a car outside a mosque in Surrey, British Columbia, an incident that has left the BC Muslim Association (BCMA) “deeply concerned”.

Constables say worshipers were heading out after evening prayers at the Surrey Jamea Masjid on Wednesday evening when a vehicle sped towards them just before 11pm.

A person inside the car then threw water at three pedestrians. The vehicle then veered off the road and a pedestrian was “nearly hit”, according to the RCMP.

“While the suspect’s motives are not yet known, this is a very disturbing incident directed against our Muslim community,” RCMP said in a statement.

“We will work to determine the motive and want to reassure the community that the incident will be fully investigated.”

The BCMA said in a statement on Thursday that its first priority was to ensure worshipers were safe after the incident and that it had asked police to investigate the incident as a hate crime.

The statement also said that someone inside a car threw a substance at worshipers as they left evening prayers, before the car drove away at full speed and then returned repeatedly simulating d trying to crush people.

The incident at the Surrey Jamea Masjid came days before Eid, Islam’s holiest holiday. (Liam Britten/CBC)

Muhammad Asad Gondal, president of the association, said the incident had deeply shaken the congregation at the mosque.

“It is particularly disturbing to the innocent worshipper, especially [since it happened] where they worship,” he said.
“They connect with God and they were attacked.”

Gondal said many children and women walk to the neighborhood mosque.

He added that he did not know how the incident would affect attendance at the mosque – days before Eid, Islam’s holiest holiday.

In its statement, the BCMA said pretending to run over people is “no small feat” after a Muslim family in London, Ont., was struck and killed by a truck last summer in what police called a hate-motivated attack.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims said it called on political leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Columbia Premier John Horgan, to prioritize tackling Islamophobia.

“Although action has been taken on some of our recommendations, many of the recommendations we put forward after the London terror attack have not been carried out,” the council tweeted.

“We have to do more. And we have to do it now.”