FBI investigators are seeking suspects after an explosive device tore through part of a suburban Minneapolis mosque as people were preparing for morning prayers, damaging a room but not causing any injuries, authorities and witnesses said. The blast happened at around 5 am Saturday at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, according to Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts. Windows of the imam’s office were shattered, either by the blast or by an object thrown through them, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. One worshipper saw a pickup truck speeding away shortly after the explosion, said Mohamed Omar, the center’s executive director.
He said the mosque, which primarily serves people from the area’s large Somali community, occasionally receives threatening calls and emails. “We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship,” Yasir Abdalrahman, a worshipper at the mosque, told the newspaper. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.” Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, described the attack as a firebombing. Investigators will try to determine whether the incident was a hate crime and who may have been behind it, according to Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division. Thornton said during an afternoon news conference that the explosion was caused by an “improvised explosive device,” and that investigators have recovered components of the device to figure out how it was put together. (AP)