CAIRO – Australian Muslims woke up on Thursday, December 5, to the horrible news of the death of a Muslim man who was stabbed along with two other Muslim worshippers inside a Melbourne mosque.
“Three men were stabbed during the incident and one of those men has since died,” a police statement was quoted by Guardian Australia.
“The critical incident response team attended and arrested the fourth man.”
According to witnesses, the attach occurred when a man, seemingly agitated, tried to enter the Broadmeadows Turkish Islamic and Cultural Centre in Dallas just before 11am on Thursday.
The crime occurred when the three elderly men in the mosque tried to prevent the agitated man entering the mosque
“He has attempted to gain entry to the mosque but was refused due to his agitated state," Detective Senior Sergeant Stuart Bailey said.
Bailey said there were about 40 people inside the mosque at the time, many of whom were female and elderly
"The male has produced a knife and stabbed all three of the 70-year-old men," he said.
"It's a horrific attack on three elderly gentlemen that were just trying to go about their normal business at the mosque," Bailey added.
Along with the Muslim men, a sergeant was also assaulted when trying to control the man, who was eventually arrested by six officers.
Police initially used capsicum spray on the attacker in the car park connected to the centre, which did not stop him.
They then used a taser stun-gun on him on the street.
The man who died was from Glenroy, those taken to hospital were from Mickleham and Craigieburn.
The attacker was taken to hospital for treatment, where he remains under police guard.
The attack, the first of its kind in one of Victoria’s largest Muslim populations, shocked the Muslim community.
“This is a very tightly knit community, so it’s a shock for this to happen. I don’t think there’s any deep-seated tension in the community,” Yesim Aksu, whose father attends the Broadmeadows mosque, told Guardian Australia
“Some people have got annoyed and abusive in the past, but I’ve never seen violence in the area.”
Aksu’s mother was near the building at the time of the stabbing.
“My mother said someone had got into the mosque and attacked three other men,” she said.
“She said she had never seen so many police in the one place before. They’ve blocked off the streets and access to the mosque.
The mosque on King Street is one of the longest-established in Melbourne.
Community tensions have recently flared over a proposal to build another mosque nearby in Coolaroo.
In August, about 1,000 locals gathered outside Hume city council’s offices to object to plans to build the mosque, which would be next to a church. Protesters said the mosque should be built in a less “sensitive” area.
Muslims, who have been in Australia for more than 200 years, make up 1.7 percent of its 20-million population.
In post 9/11 Australia, Muslims have been haunted with suspicion and have had their patriotism questioned.
A 2007 poll taken by the Issues Deliberation Australia (IDA) think-tank found that Australians basically see Islam as a threat to the Australian way of life.
A recent governmental report revealed that Muslims are facing deep-seated Islamophobia and race-based treatment like never before.
Related Links:Mosque Arson Attack Scares Aussie Muslims
Aussie Mosque Sparks “Fanatics” Row
Mosque Plans Invoke Aussie Islam Phobia
Aussie Mosques Welcome Non-Muslims
Newcastle Mosque Attack Draws Ire