BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — A 16- and 13-year-old are accused in the attack of an imam who was assaulted in Bloomington on his way to nightly prayers.
The attack on Sheikh Mohamed Mukhtar happened Aug. 6 along the 8200 block of Park Avenue. The imam was assaulted while walking to prayers just one day after the three-year anniversary of a bombing at the mosque.
According to investigators, the imam reported that both assailants had kicked and hit him. He suffered two fractures in his left shoulder.
Police have said there was no immediate evidence the attack was a bias crime, based on statements from the victim as well as one of the suspects. Police said one person they spoke with claimed they talked about robbing someone because they needed cash.
A 16-year-old boy has been charged with third-degree assault, and a 13-year-old boy has also been charged. One of them told investigators the entire incident was just “dumb fun.” Surveillance photos show the two boys approaching Mukhtar and then running back into the park after the assault.
Gov. Tim Walz and Attorney General Keith Ellison plan to visit the Bloomington mosque Friday in a show of solidarity with the imam, and to call for religious acceptance and unity. The governor, attorney general and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan will be joined by Imam Mohamed Omar of the Dar al-Farooq Center and other faith leaders, including the Rev. Curtiss DeYoung of the Minnesota Council of Churches and Rabbi Jill Crimmings of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association.
An Illinois militia leader accused of being the ringleader in the 2017 bombing of the mosque is still awaiting trial. Two co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Prosecutors allege they hoped to scare Muslims into leaving the U.S. No one was injured in that attack.
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