Abdullah Al-Nagshimi, the owner of the animal, was quoted as saying by Al-Arabiyah.net that his children play with the animal without fear and that his neighbors also love it.
Worshippers were shocked when the cheetah walked into the mosque and sat comfortably, looking at them. The video of the scene soon went viral on social media, raising questions as to where the animal came from.
“I received a phone call stating that a security patrol was guarding the mosque. I immediately went there and saw the animal sitting quietly even amid the security men and citizens and it did not hurt anyone. It came to me as soon as it saw me. This assured everybody inside the mosque that it is a peaceful pet and there was no need to be afraid of it.”
“I have been breeding big cats for the last six years as a hobby. In the past, I had a Bengal tiger and a lion. But now I have only this cheetah,” he said.
Al-Nagshimi said: “I have a six-month-old son and a six-year-old daughter. Both of them play with the animal without fear. When I bought him, his teeth weren’t sharp and its claws had been removed. My neighbors always ask me for their selfies with the animal.”
On how the animal entered the mosque, he said: “That particular day, I washed the cheetah in the rest station near the mosque. I left it to dry, but the gatekeeper left the place leaving the door open. The animal came out and entered the mosque.”