On Saturday (August 5), still unidentified assailants bombed the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. Per the StarTribune, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says the attackers detonated an improvised explosive device at the center just after 5 a.m., destroying the imam’s office as about a dozen people gathered in a nearby room for morning prayer. Witnesses reported seeing someone throw the device at the office window from a vehicle. There were no injuries.
Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis division is leading the investigation, working with the Bloomington Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
— FBI Minneapolis (@FBIMinneapolis) August 5, 2017
Per local station KARE: “FBI Special Agent in Charge Rick Thornton says now that the device has been identified, the investigation is focused on who and why. He says they cannot answer the question of whether it is a hate crime at this time.”
The Muslim American Society of Minnesota is reportedly offering a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the bombers. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is also offering $10,000 for relevant information. “We hope a reward will help law enforcement authorities quickly apprehend the perpetrator of this act of violence targeting an American house of worship,” Amir Malik, CAIR Minnesota’s civil rights director, said in a statement. “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.”
There has been an uptick in crimes against Muslims and those perceived as Muslims. Last month, CAIR released a report that found a 91 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes for the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
“We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here—freedom to worship,” mosque member Yasir Abdalrahman told StarTribune. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”
While law enforcement has not officially concluded that the bombing is a hate crime, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton told press during a visit to the center that it is a hate crime and an “act of terror.”
A campaign has been created to help rebuild the center. At press time, it had collected nearly $45,000 of the $95,000 goal.