By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called Tuesday for state and federal agencies to investigate a possible bias motive for what the advocacy group calls “an apparent attempted arson” at a Muslim cemetery in southern Minnesota.

According to CAIR-MN, someone reported smelling a gas leak at the Al Maghfirah Cemetery in Castle Rock Township early Tuesday morning. Community members responded and found more than 30 tires placed inside a building, where a large gas pipe was cut inside. The advocacy group thinks whoever cut the gas line intended to cause an explosion.

(credit: CAIR)

“An explosion and resulting fire were thankfully averted in what appears to be the latest hate attack on the Muslim community,” Jaylani Hussein, the CAIR-MN executive director, said in a statement. “We call on local, state and federal law enforcement agencies – including the FBI – to investigate a possible bias motive for this failed arson attack against a Muslim institution.”

He says this is the second time Al Maghfirah Cemetery has been attacked. In August 2017, the cemetery was vandalized. Hussein says that the cemetery faced opposition in the community and had to mount a legal challenge against the rural Dakota County township to allow construction.