'Improvised explosive device' caused blast at Minnesota mosque: FBI
Story Code : 658943
The explosion at the Dar al-Farooq Center in Bloomington before dawn Saturday did not cause any injuries but left a room damaged, according to witnesses and authorities.
“If a bias motive is proven, this attack would represent another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months,” said Amir Malik, the local chapter’s civil rights director.
The blast heavily damaged the imam’s office, sending smoke out of the large building, but the worshipers managed to put out the fire before firefighters arrived at the scene.
A preliminary investigation shows “an improvised explosive device” caused the explosion “in violation of federal law,” Minnesota police said.
FBI has taken the lead in the investigation which was also joined by agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“The post-blast environment is very detailed,” Special Agent in Charge Richard Thornton said at an early evening news conference.
“You search the wide area in an attempt to find as many components as you can of the device to help us understand how the device was made. That process is substantially complete.”
The US Department of Homeland Security issued a news release saying that acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke has been informed of the explosion and was “in close contact” with all the relevant officials as the investigation continues.
“The Department of Homeland Security fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution,” the DHS said. “We are thankful that there were no injuries, but that does not diminish the serious nature of this act.”
On May 9, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a report that the number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the US saw a 57% rise in 2016, attributing it, in part, to Donald Trump's rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants during his presidential campaign in 2016.
Before winning the election, Trump had promised to impose a “complete and total shutdown” on Muslims entering the US, framing it as an effort to prevent attacks in the country.
Yasir Abdalrahman, a worshiper at the mosque, said, “We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship,” but “that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”