Last Sunday, a lone gunman burst into a mosque in Norway and attempted to kill worshippers by firing his gun into the building.
Oslo police stated that they’re looking into the shooting at the Al-Noor Islamic Center in Baerum, a town west of the capital Oslo, as “an attempted act of terrorism.”
“The man carried two shotgun-like weapons and a pistol. He broke through a glass door and fired shots,” noted mosque director Irfan Mushtaq.
The suspect is 21-year-old Philip Manshaus, who was charged with attempted murder at the mosque as well as the murder of his stepsister. Shortly after the attack, the body of his 17-year-old stepsister was found at a house in Baerum.
“He, for the moment being, is using his right not to give a statement to the police or to the court,” his defense attorney, Unni Fries. She also confirmed that he denies guilt for the crime.
Luckily there were no deaths. This was mainly due to the fact that there were only three people inside the mosque at the time of the attack and the gunman was overpowered before police arrived. 65-year-old retired Pakistani air force officer, Mohammad Rafiq, is being hailed as a hero for stopping the gunman by tackling him to the ground and seizing the weapon.
“There is no doubt that the swift and firm response from the persons inside the mosque stopped the aggressor and prevented further consequences,” Oslo Assistant Police Chief Rune Skjold told reporters. Manshaus appeared in court battered and bruised but did not say anything to reporters.
The head of Norway’s PST police security service told reporters that it had been given a tip-off about the suspect a year ago but that there was nothing to suggest a plan for an attack was underway. Police also said the suspect appeared to have far-right and anti-immigrant views.
“This is not supposed to happen in Norway,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said in a Sunday statement. “Norway should be safe. All places of worship shall be safe.”
The Oslo District Court ruled on Monday that he is to remain in detention for the next four weeks while the case is being investigated.
Featured image: Reuters