Mosque attacked, FBI takes the lead

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (AP) — Someone apparently threw a bomb through the window of a suburban Minneapolis mosque on Saturday as people were preparing for morning prayers, damaging the imam’s office but not causing any injuries, authorities said.

Minneapolis police said a preliminary investigation shows a destructive device caused the explosion, “in violation of federal law,” and that the FBI has taken the lead in the investigation. An FBI spokesman didn’t return a phone message Saturday seeking details about the investigation.

The blast happened at around 5 a.m. at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, south of Minneapolis. Worshippers managed to extinguish the blaze before firefighters arrived, according to a statement from the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

A witness reported seeing something being thrown at the imam’s office window as about a dozen people gathered for morning prayers, said Asad Zaman, the society’s director. Zaman described it as a firebombing, the Star Tribune reported.

One worshipper saw a pickup truck speeding away afterward, said Mohamed Omar, the center’s executive director. He said the mosque, which primarily serves people from the area’s large Somali community, occasionally receives threatening calls and emails.

“It was 5 a.m.,” Omar told the newspaper. “The whole neighborhood was calm. People were supposed to be sleeping, that’s how peaceful this should be.”