MINNESOTA — The FBI is calling it “a destructive device.” Muslims are calling it a “firebomb.” Whatever it was, it caused an explosion that ripped through a Bloomington Islamic center early Saturday morning at about the same time as a small group of Muslims started morning prayers.
It all happened at the Dar Al Farooq Center shortly after 5:00 a.m. local time. No injuries were reported, but there was damage to the imam’s office.
The immediate response to the scene was by Bloomington police, but the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) joined the investigation before noon.
By Saturday afternoon, the FBI had released an official statement regarding the matter. “Preliminary investigation indicates that the explosion was caused by a destructive device in violation of federal law,” read the statement.
According to local news outlets, one of the worshippers claims to have seen a pickup truck speed out of the mosque’s parking lot just after the blast.
Asad Zaman, director of the local Muslim American Society, described the attack as a firebombing during a press conference. He said that in addition to the pick up truck driving away from the parking lot, it is believed someone in the truck tossed something into the office window.
“Something blew up, we don’t know what, but there was a lot of smoke, and the fire suppression system kicked in and stopped the fire,” he said.
The Muslim American Society and the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations each offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
A member of the mosque, Yasir Abdalrahman, called the blast “unimaginable,” according to the Star Tribune. “We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship,” Abdalrahman said. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”
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