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Canadian Muslim Shot While Helping a Stranger

HAMILTON – Praised for his bravery, a young Canadian Muslim was fatally shot Sunday as he was leaving the mosque when he rushed to help a stranger in a confrontation.

“He was an overall nice young man. He was involved in his community, and it’s nothing more than a tragedy,” said Hamilton police Det. Sgt. Steve Bereziuk, CBC reported on Sunday.

“He was a very brave young man [who was] trying to do something heroic,” Bereziuk said. “Unfortunately, it resulted in this.”

Yosif Al-Hasnawi was leaving Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre with his brother when he stepped in to help someone being accosted near the mosque.

As he tried to help the stranger, a new confrontation erupted which led to the shooting of the 19-year-old around 9pm ET Saturday.

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Police say he was taken to the hospital, where he died about an hour later.

Al-Hasnawi was a first-year Brock University medical sciences student who planned to become a doctor, Bereziuk said. He was also a boxer, runner and basketball player.

“He stepped in in an attempt to calm the situation down, to neutralize it, to do the right thing,” Bereziuk said.

“He was being that Good Samaritan.”

Young HeroCanadian Muslim Shot While Helping a Stranger - About Islam

The young Muslim was mourned by members of the Muslim community. He was at the mosque for a religious celebration, Talib Al-Jalili from the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre said.

“After he recited the Holy Qur’an, he took a break and he went outside,” Al-Jalili said. That’s when “he saw a very unfortunate incident that an old man was harassed by two people,” and he intervened.

“This young man, he’s a hero.”

Brock University president Gervan Fearon issued a statement saying he’s “shocked and deeply saddened” by Al-Hasnawi’s death.

“The university continues to seek further information about the circumstances of this tragedy, and is reaching out to support Yosif’s family,” he said.

Police said they are still looking for the gun and two suspects, as well as the man who was being accosted when Al-Hasnawi intervened.