On Saturday, hate and bigotry left Norway in a state of shock after a heavily armed gunman attacked a mosque in Bærum, a suburb of Oslo. But, a 65-year-old Muslim worshipper did not let the hate turn into casualties.
The shooter, now identified as Philip Manshaus, entered the Al-Noor Islamic Centre by shooting through its locked glass door over the weekend. Just 10 minutes before the suspect arrived, there were more than a dozen people praying inside the mosque, according to CNN. However, at the time of the shooting, only three men were left inside.
A 65-year-old former Pakistani military officer, identified as Mohammad Rafiq, is currently being hailed a hero for preventing the mosque attack from turning into a deadly shooting. Rafiq threw the suspect to the ground after he entered the mosque, seizing the weapons from him. The two other men also helped Rafiq pin the suspect down.
"There is no doubt that the swift and firm response from the persons inside the mosque stopped the aggressor," assistant chief of police Rune Skjold said in a statement, according to The Independent.
"These persons showed great courage."
The 21-year-old suspect allegedly killed his teenage stepsister before the mosque attack. On Monday, Manshaus appeared in court on charges of murder and terrorism with two black eyes and wounds to the face and neck. However, it remains unconfirmed whether the marks were sustained during the pinning down inside the mosque.
According to Skjold, the shooter had also expressed right-wing sentiments online. He reportedly entered the mosque with at least two rifles in an attempt to kill worshippers.
The judge on the case granted police permission to hold Manshaus in custody for four weeks while an investigation takes place. The 21-year-old is being investigated on suspicion of murder and breaching anti-terrorism laws. The suspect hasn't admitted to any crime at the time of writing.
"He is exercising his right not to be interrogated," said Manshaus' defense lawyer, Unni Fries, according to The Guardian.
"He is not admitting any guilt."
"Your stereotypical terrorist is actually your HERO"
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the attempted attack a "direct attack on Norwegian Muslims." But, Muslims haven't been the only target for far-right attackers in the country.
Far-right assailants have carried out deadly acts in the country several times in the past. In 2011, two sequential domestic terrorist attacks were carried out by Anders Behring Breivik against the government, the civilian population, and a Workers' Youth League (AUF) summer camp. The July 22 attacks left 77 people dead and over 300 others injured in what has been described as the country's deadliest attack since World War II.