Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Bloodbath averted in Norway mosque by 65-year-old worshiper

Bloodbath averted in Norway mosque by 65-year-old worshiper

Norwegian police are investigating Saturday's shooting at an Oslo mosque as a possible act of terrorism, a police official said on Sunday.

One suspect is in custody after the shooting Saturday at the Al-Noor Islamic Center in the Oslo suburb of Baerum.

Acting chief of the police operation Rune Skjold said that the man appeared to hold "far-right" and "anti-immigrant" views and had expressed sympathy for Vidkun Quisling, the leader of Norway's collaborationist government during the Nazi occupation.

A suspected gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on an Oslo mosque and separately killing his teenage stepsister appeared in court Monday for a hearing, but his defense lawyer said he "will use his right not to explain himself for now". Investigators launched a murder investigation into the death.

One person in the mosque managed to overpower the gunman and was injured in the process.

The Oslo attack took place on the eve of Eid Al-Adha, an Islamic celebration that marks the end of the Hajj pilgrimage, and it stoked fears among Norway's Muslims.

His face and neck marked by bruises and scratches, Philip Manshaus was also charged with attempted murder, as well as the murder of his stepsister.

Three people were present in the mosque at the time, mosque spokesman Waheed Ahmed said.

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A 65-year-old retired Pakistani air force officer, Mohammad Rafiq, has been praised for seizing the attacker, pinning him down and taking his weapons from him.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who expressed sympathy after the attack, said in a statement: "This is not supposed to happen in Norway".

Other worshippers were grateful for Rafiq's bravery.

A witness said of Mr Rafiq: "He is a hero". Ahead of the attack, a message was posted on the EndChan forum purporting to be from Philip Manshaus.

The man had been known to police before the incident, but according to Skjold he could not be described as someone with a "criminal background". "I represent the mother of the girl", she said, adding that the girl's mother and Manshaus's father were together, and surrounded by friends helping them cope.

Head of Norway's security police (PST) Hans Sverre Sjovold speaks at a news conference in Oslo, Norway, on August 12, 2019.

In 2011, anti-Muslim neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people in Norway's worst peacetime atrocity, the majority of them teenagers at a youth camp.

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