Worshippers suspect hate crime in bombing of MN mosque

Posted at 5:27 AM, Aug 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-06 05:27:13-04

BLOOMINGTON, MN (WCCO/CNN) – Members of a Minnesota Islamic center feel targeted after an explosion Saturday, caused by what federal authorities deemed an improvised explosive device.

Leaders at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, MN, say several worshippers were inside preparing for morning prayer around 5 a.m. Saturday when one of them saw someone throw an explosive device into the building before speeding off in a pick-up trick.

Though the mosque sustained fire and smoke damage, no one was injured.

"This could have been very big and very damaging,” said Asad Zaman with the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

Authorities have not yet called the incident a hate crime, but worshippers say they feel attacked.

One man, Kamal Hassan, couldn’t shake the feeling of despair. He was dropping his son off at the center when he learned there had been a blast.

"In this environment, every Muslim is worried about violence these days, and Islamophobia is becoming the mainstream,” Hassan said.

Zaman says the center has been on high alert in recent months.

"Dar Al-Farooq Center has been the recipient of a lot of hate messaging, and this is also consistent with the general attitude of Islamophobia that is being promoted,” he said.

Within hours of the explosion, community members of all faiths rallied around their Muslim neighbors, pledging support.

"Targeting people because of their race, ethnicity or religion is absolutely un-American,” Zaman said.

The Muslim American Society of Minnesota and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations are each offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.

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