"Dastardly, Cowardly" Bombing of Mosque in Minnesota

[Content Note: Terrorism; Islamophobia.]

An unknown person (or persons) placed an improvised explosive device (IED) at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, which exploded during Saturday morning prayers. Fortunately, no one was physically injured.
Mohamed Omar, the center's executive director, told The Washington Post he was inside the mosque preparing for morning prayers when he felt a "huge explosion" that quickly caused smoke and flames. Omar said another person present later told him he had heard the sound of a window breaking and then a pickup truck fleeing outside.

"The sprinkler system went off and immediately water came down," Omar said. "We didn't know what was happening but it was scary."

..."Hate is not okay," Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, told reporters, according to the Star-Tribune. "We need an America where people are safe with their neighbors."

If the attack was motivated by anti-Muslim bias, it would represent "another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months," CAIR-MN civil rights director Amir Malik said. CAIR said in a report last month that anti-Muslim hate crimes in the United States nearly doubled in the first half of this year over the same period in 2016. At least 35 anti-mosque acts — including vandalism and arson — were reported during the first three months of this year, the organization has said.

Last week, vandals spray-painted swastikas and hateful graffiti at the Al Magfirah cemetery in Castle Rock Township, just outside the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, the Associated Press reported. Other messages at the Muslim cemetery read "666" and "leave you R Dead," according to photos published by the KSTP News.
This intimidation, harassment, and violence isn't happening in a vacuum. It's happening in the context of a presidency that has been defined by the promise to "Make America Great Again," a central strategy of which has been fearmongering against nonwhite and non-Christian populations, including very prominently Muslims.

Donald Trump did not invent Islamophobia, but he has empowered it. And these are the consequences of his reckless bigotry.

As of 9:30 Eastern this morning, Trump has tweeted nine times, but has not even mentioned the bombing of Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center.

Touring the center, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton denounced the explosion "as a 'wretched' hate crime and act of terrorism," saying: "What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly act was committed. Anything I can do to put a stop to it, I would gladly do."

And many local residents share his anger and grief:
Since the morning attack at the mosque, the area has been shut down as an active crime scene, but it has also attracted well-wishers, from neighbors to other members of the faith community.

"The churches around and synagogues … almost all of them came down and showed their support," Omar said. "We are strong and we don't want to lose hope because of things that happen."

...Ilham Omar, a Somali American state representative who is Muslim, called on Minnesotans to "stand together in opposition to hate."

"This building is more than a religious symbol," she said in a statement. "It's a place where Minnesotans are gathering to create community, to talk to their neighbors, to learn about our world and each other, and to help care for children."
I take up space in solidarity with the members of the Dar Al-Farooq community. I fervently hope the perpetrator of this heinous act is swiftly identified.

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