Above photo: Afternoon prayers outside the police tape surrounding the center. (Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP)
Bloomington, MN – Early in the morning, just as first prayers were starting, on Saturday, August 5, 2017, a Mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota was bombed when an explosive device was thrown through a window.
“Bloomington police were called to the Islamic center at 5:05 am on Saturday after reports of an explosion. ‘When officers and fire personnel arrived, what they found there was some smoke, some damage to the building, but no one was injured,’ Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts said at a news conference on Saturday.
Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said a witness had seen someone throwing an object at the imam’s office window from a van or a truck.
Mohamed Omar, the mosque’s executive director, told reporters a member saw someone leave in a truck shortly after the blast.
‘One of our congregation members came out immediately and saw a truck fleeing … at high speed,” Omar said. “This is our center. This was our first prayer for the day.’
Community members reportedly quelled the flames before first responders arrived.”
Citing a study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Al-Jazeera reports that hate groups are on the rise in the United States, particularly groups targeting Muslims:
“In a recent report , the SPLC found that the total number of hate groups in the US in 2016 grew to 917 from 892 a year earlier.
Since 1999, the total number of hate groups in the US has more than doubled.
There are now more anti-Muslim , anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, white nationalist, neo-Nazi, neo-Confederate and black separatist organisations.
But the number of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) chapters, racist skinhead groups and anti-government militias and political groupings has declined, according to the report.
The sharpest increase was among anti-Muslim groups, which grew from 37 to 101 during that period – a 197 percent increase in just one year.
FBI statistics show that hate crimes targeting Muslims had already grown by 67 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The SPLC defines anti-Muslim groups as those that harbour ‘extreme hostility’ towards Muslims, who are ‘depicted as irrational, intolerant and violent, and their faith is frequently depicted as sanctioning paedophilia, coupled with intolerance for homosexuals and women’.”
For more information, please watch this film, “Islamophobia in the USA,” by Abdullah Elshamy: