MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Bloomington mosque has been on high alert since someone threw a firebomb through its office window. The attack more than two years ago sent the Dar Al-Farooq Center searching for better security.
WCCO got the first look at a system more worship centers are now watching closely.
Amazingly, no one was hurt when a bomb was hurled into the Imam’s office at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center. Ever since, its Executive Director, Mohamed Omar has been focused on finding a long-term security solution.
“It changed our lives, it changed the way we thought about security,” Executive Director Mohamed Omar said. “We had to get at least some protection to say our mosque is safe.”
From police officers at entrances to pricey surveillance cameras, it wasn’t until Crotega’s shooter suppression system that Omar felt confident.
“This was the answer,” Omar said.
From the sound of gunshots or from the touch of a button a chemical irritant will spay from the ceiling to stop a threat. Similar to how fire sprinklers work with smoke or flames.
The building is now equipped with 11 panic buttons protecting 140 feet of hallway and all monitored at the front desk on camera.
A former school administrator, Jody Allen Crowe developed the system after so many school shootings. But, when 50 people died in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, Crowe wanted to offer the same protection to places of worship.
“For us it is hugely important for us to have this in and support Mohamed and the mosque here,” Crowe said.
Since the bombing, the mosque’s office has been rebuilt. Omar is hoping the same will now be said of any lasting anxiety.
“We can bring the sense of security back to our community,” Omar said.
The Islamic Center paid about $100,000 for the Crotega suppression system. In addition, they will pay a monthly monitoring fee.
Three men from Illinois are charged in the bombing. The alleged militia ring-leader of the attack will go on trial in April.