Hawzah News Agency (Malmö, Sweden) - Rizwan Afzal, imam at the Mahmood mosque, told The Local that those praying inside had heard the shot shortly after 12am.
“Some people were carrying out these extra prayers for the beginning of the New Year, but because of the fireworks, they didn’t notice that something had happened to our own mosque,” he said.
“But when we were having another prayer at 6.30am early in the morning, people did notice. Then the police came to carry out investigations after 8am.”
Afzal said the bullet had penetrated two sheets of a triple-glazed door, leaving it lodged inside the glass.
Anna Göransson, a press spokesperson for the Malmö police said that the attack was being investigated as an attempted murder.
“From the observations that we have made we believe that the mosque was shot at after midnight and that’s why we are categorising it in this way,” she told Sydsvenskan.
“We have no suspect and no confirmed motive, but we are all the time conscious that it might be a hate crime.”
Afzal came to Malmö after five years serving as imam at a mosque in Sierra Leone, where he arrived at the tail end of the African country's brutal civil war.
“We have many mosques there, but one was never shot at,” he said. “Our community is known all over the world and we are renowned for our peacefulness, even in Sierra Leone.”
“I don’t know what happened with this person who shot at our place, but still we don’t feel any hate even for him,” he continued. “Even if we see him, we can explain to him that we have love for him.”
Members of Malmö’s muslim community were out on the city’s streets on New Years’ Day clearing up after the celebrations, as they do every year.
“Despite this shooting incident, we went out and we did cleaning in the city,” he said. “We showed our love for our
country and our city, because that’s our duty.”
Ahmadi muslims believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the movement's founder, was the 'mahdi' and 'messiah' the prophet Mohammed told followers would unite the faithful before the 'end times'. They are considered heretics by many Muslims.