An early–morning explosion blew out a window and shook the Al–Farooq Youth and Family Center in Bloomington, MN, on Saturday. No one was injured, but federal authorities are now investigating what appears to have been a type of planned attack against the center.
The Bloomington Police Department said in a statement that it is working along with the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate the explosion, which happened as several people were in the building before first prayer. Several neighbors also reported being awakened by the blast.
According to local media, the center’s executive director, Mohamed Omar, said a witness saw a truck fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed immediately after the explosion. Both neighbors and congregants believe the incident to be a hate crime, the Star Tribune reported.
Several people expressed support for the center at a press conference on Saturday afternoon, including Curtiss Deyoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches.
“An attack on a mosque is an attack on a synagogue is an attack on a church,” Deyoung said, according to KARE 11. “It’s an attack on all faith communities. And so we stand with you, a million Protestants in Minnesota.”
Congregant Yasir Abdalrahman told the Tribune, “We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship. And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”
Sen. Al Franken tweeted that he is “horrified” by the incident, but “thankful that no one was hurt.”
According to Newsweek, anti-Muslim hate crimes have spiked by 91% in the first half of this year under President Donald Trump, compared to the same period in 2016.
Minnesota police urge anyone with information about the suspected attack to call 952-563-4900. The Muslim American Society of Minnesota is offering a $10,000 reward for information about the crime.