Worshipers Stop Mosque Attack in Norway by Wrestling Gunman to Ground
A 65-year-old former Pakistani Air Force member took the attacker down before he could shoot anyone.
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Two men were able to stop a shooting at a Norway mosque before anyone was killed. The thwarted attack took place at the al-Noor Islamic Centre, just outside of Oslo, on Saturday.
Authorities looking into the incident say that they are investigating it as an act of terrorism, as they believe the unidentified attacker held white supremacist views. Oslo assistant chief of police Rune Skjold commended the courage of Mohammad Rafiq and Mohamed Iqbal, who wrestled the gunman to the ground and held him until police arrived.
“These people showed great courage,” Skjold said.
Sixty-five-year-old Rafiq is a retired Pakistani Air Force officer. He told Reuters that he heard the shooting begin outside the mosque and knocked the shooter down once he shot toward the other men inside the mosque.
“I suddenly heard shooting from outside,” Rafiq, who was helping prepare the mosque for a celebration of Eid al-Adha with two other members of the congregation, shared via an interpreter. "He started to fire towards the two other men."
Rafiq was injured while fighting with the man, but eventually got him on the ground at which point Iqbal helped hold the attacker down.
"He put his finger inside my eye, up to here; full finger inside my eye,” Rafiq explained.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg posted a message of solidarity with Norwegian Muslims to Facebook.
"Today we stand shoulder to shoulder with Norwegian Muslims in condemnation of the attack and for the right to safely be able to believe in who you want and what you want in Norway," she wrote. "Eid Mubarak!"