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Members from Ottawa mosque on edge after mystery package appears
OTTAWA -- Members of an east Ottawa area mosque are feeling uneasy after they say a stranger dropped off a mysterious package during prayer last Friday.
The incident was recorded on the mosque’s security camera and shows a man dropping off a black box next to a note. The man had the hood of his jacket pulled up making it difficult to see his face.
The hand written note reading “free to take - please do not throw in the garbage.”
Abdul Hakim Moalimishak is the president of the Assalam Mosque. He said the box looked like it was made to replicate the Kaaba, the holiest shrine in Islam.
“The overriding emotion is fear - we don’t know this individual, why he did what he did, we certainly know the symbolism of a replica of the Kaaba which is very insulting for us,” Moalimishak said.
A member of the mosque phoned Ottawa Police who responded with a bomb disposing robot.
Ottawa Police determined the incident was not criminal in nature and the package was later deemed non-suspicious.
Moalimishak says Ottawa Police have not revealed what was inside of the box.
“We just do not feel comfortable right now,” he said.
Speaking at an event promoting diversity, equity and inclusion today, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly says he understands why the incident worried members of the Mosque.
“We recognize that there is a rise of hate crimes, there is still unresolved issues, discrimination in service delivery within institutions… so all of this effort should address these issues,” Sloly said.
Sloly says an action plan is being created to better assist community members.
That plan will be released once it is complete.