BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) — The FBI is trying to figure out who threw an explosive device into the largest mosque in Minnesota.
It happened early Saturday at Dar Al-Farooq Mosque. According to the center’s executive director, a worshiper said he saw someone throw an improvised explosive device or “IED” into the building and then take off in a pickup truck. Luckily, the prayer leader was running late and was not inside his office where the explosion happened.
No one was hurt but shrapnel marks are left behind.
Dar Al-Farooq Mosque is the largest mosque in Minnesota. On Fridays, for their main prayer services they have 600-700 people in attendance.
It’s supposed to be a place for solace, but this weekend it was a place marked by violence. Someone threw an IED in the Imam’s office around the time he usually comes in.
“The timing also was very strange as if he knew what he was doing,” Mosque staffer Abraham Yusuf said.
The FBI is trying to figure out who that person is.
Gov. Mark Dayton and other lawmakers gathered outside the mosque Sunday morning to condemn the violence.
“What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly, terrible act this was that was committed yesterday, it’s a crime. As somebody said in the meeting, if this were roles were reversed it would be called a terrorist attack, and that’s what it is, it’s an act of terrorism,” Gov. Dayton said.
The governor and others coming to Sunday’s prayer time were greeted by the warmth of strangers.
Donna Krisch of Minnetonka was one of more than a dozen people standing outside showing signs of support.
“I’m here to support the Muslim community, they’re neighbors of ours, I’m a second generation immigrant and this is not what America should be,” Krisch said.
Krisch and her mother and daughters held signs with hearts on them.
“It hurts me to know how we treat our neighbors, how we treat our fellow Minnesotans,” Alexis Lohse said.
“You should just treat other people how you want to be treated, you wouldn’t like it if you were doing something important to you and then someone just went there and interrupted it,” her daughter Emma Miller said.
A sentiment that was well-received, especially by the nation’s first Muslim member of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison.
“This is the right spirit and there is no better way to condemn a person who would throw a bomb into this mosque, this house of worship, than to react in a loving, kind and inclusive way,” Ellison said.
“That really kind of made our day, realizing we have not just our own people but the whole city behind us,” Yusuf said.
It seems that person who tried to weaken this congregation, strengthened it.
“If we stick together and stand together, we’ll be able to overcome it, God willing,” Ellison said.
Congressman Ellison says he is hoping the president will respond to what happened. The local Council on American-Islamic Relations, CAIR, is offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who can help the FBI crack this case.