The man who assaulted worshippers at a mosque in Mississauga, Ont., last year with bear spray and an axe has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
Justice Bruce Durno delivered the sentence during a hearing at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brampton on Tuesday. The length of the sentence conforms with a joint recommendation submitted by the Crown and defence.
Mohammad Moiz Omar “intended to perpetrate a mass casualty event” when he entered the Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre during early morning prayer on March 19, 2022 and sprayed bear spray toward congregants while swinging a hatchet, according to an agreed statement of facts.
On July 19, Omar pleaded guilty to three charges, including administering a noxious substance with intent to endanger life or cause bodily harm; assault with a weapon; and mischief to religious property with motivation of bias, prejudice or hate based on religion.
According to the statement, he was motivated by an intense hatred for and desire to intimidate Muslims, prompted by his belief that Islam is “an intolerant and violent religion.”
As part of his plea, Omar agreed that the offences constituted terrorist activity under the Criminal Code.
Durno gave Omar an eight-year sentence for the assault with a weapon charge, and five-year concurrent sentences for the other charges.
After credit for time already served, Omar will serve another five years, three months and 15 days in prison. He will become eligible for parole after half his sentence is served.
Last week, the mosque’s imam, Ibrahim Hindy, said an eight-year sentence was too lenient.
Representatives from the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and the Dar Al Tawheed community, are expected to react to the sentencing later Tuesday evening.