The FBI on Sunday said an improvised explosive device caused damage at an Islamic mosque and community center in the Minnesota city of Bloomington.
During a press conference Saturday evening, the FBI appealed for public information to help determine who caused the explosion early Saturday at the Dar Al Farooq Community Center and why.
No one was injured in the explosion that heavily damaged an imam’s office. The explosion occurred before dawn as about a dozen people gathered for morning prayers.
“The FBI Minneapolis field office has assume the role of lead investigative agency in to the explosion this morning at the Dar Al Farooq Community Center in Bloomington,” the agency said in a statement. “The FBI will continue to work closely with the Bloomington Police Department, ATF and other law enforcement partners. Preliminary investigation indicates the explosion was caused by a destructive device in violation of federal law.”
Bloomington is about 10 miles from the Minneapolis city center. A witness said they saw someone throw something through a window prior to the explosion.
Yasir Abdalrahman, who has attended the mosque at the center for two years, said the Islamic center serves Muslims from around the Minneapolis metropolitan area.
“We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here — freedom to worship,” Abdalrahman told the Star Tribune. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said acting secretary Elaine Duke is aware of the explosion and is in contact with law enforcement and local community leaders.
“The Department of Homeland Security fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution,” DHS said. “We are thankful that there were no injuries, but that does not diminish the serious nature of this act.”
The center established a GoFundMe page to accept donations for repairs. The Dar Al Farooq Center described the incident as an “Islamophobic attack.”