Posts Tagged ‘mosque’

Islamic State Claims Suicide Bombing Near Kabul Mosque

September 29, 2017

CAIRO — Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near a large Shi’ite mosque in the Afghan capital Kabul that killed at least one person on Friday, the group’s Amaq news agency said.

The blast hit the Qala-e Fatehullah area of the city, near the Hussainya mosque, and came with security forces on alert for possible attacks during Ashura, the holiest celebration in the Shi’ite religious calendar.

(Reporting by Ahmed Tolba; Writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by John Stonestreet)



Suicide bomber kills several near Kabul Shiite mosque — Suicide bomber posing as a shepherd blew himself up

September 29, 2017


© AFP / by Mushtaq MOJADDIDI | The attacker had apparently wanted to reach the mosque while worshippers were still inside the prayer hall

KABUL (AFP) – Up to six people were killed when a suicide bomber posing as a shepherd blew himself up near a Shiite mosque in Kabul on Friday, police said, as Muslims prepare to commemorate a key Islamic event.As many as 20 others were wounded in the attack, which happened in the north of the Afghan capital as worshippers were inside Hussainia mosque, one of the biggest Shiite centres in the city, for Friday prayers.

Image result for Hussainia mosque, Kabul, Photos, Afghanistan

Security forces inspect the site of a suicide attack outside a Shiite mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 29, 2017.

“The bomber was grazing a herd of sheep and before reaching his target he detonated himself 140 metres from Hussainia mosque,” General Salim Almas, Kabul’s criminal investigative director, told AFP.

Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said on Facebook that five civilians were killed and 20 others were wounded. Three suspects have been detained.

Kabul’s Emergency hospital tweeted that it had received 19 wounded including four children.

A photo posted on Twitter purportedly taken at the scene of the attack shows a man lying on the ground, covered in blood. A severed leg belonging to someone else is beside him.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but following the attack the Taliban were quick to distance themselves from the bombing.

“Today’s Kabul attack has nothing to do with us. After a thorough investigation we found out that we had no operation in Kabul, and this attack is not linked to us,” Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, told AFP.

In the past Taliban and Islamic State jihadists, who belong to the rival Sunni branch of Islam, have repeatedly targeted the minority Shiite community.

A shopkeeper told AFP that the suicide bomber blew himself to bits after he was identified by suspicious civilian guards who had set up a checkpoint about 200 metres (yards) from the mosque.

Afghanistan has trained and armed more than 400 civilians to help protect Shiite mosques during the holy month of Muharram.

The attacker had apparently wanted to reach the mosque while worshippers were still inside the prayer hall.

– Children wounded –

Afghan security forces patrolled the dirt street where the attack happened. Nearby shops, most of which would have been closed on a Friday, were damaged by the blast.

Salim Shaheen, who was inside the mosque at the time of the explosion, told AFP there were multiple casualties.

“We were busy offering our Friday prayers when a big bang happened and we stopped prayers and rushed out,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen said “several people were killed and wounded”. He and other bystanders took 15 people including six children to hospital.

There had been fears insurgents would strike as Shiites prepare to commemorate Ashura, which falls this weekend and is the most important Shiite observance.

It falls on the 10th day of Muharram, which is the mourning period for the seventh-century killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

The faithful gather to beat their chests and hit their backs with chains until they bleed in commemoration of Hussein’s death.

But in recent years the sacred day has been marred by deadly violence.

In 2011 a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the middle of a crowd of worshippers at the main Shiite shrine in Kabul on Ashura, killing 80 people, including women and children.

Afghan officials blamed the bombing — the first major sectarian attack on a key religious day in Afghanistan — on Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

Last October gunmen entered the Karte Sakhi shrine near Kabul University and killed 18 people gathering to mark Ashura, an attack claimed by the Islamic State.

The following day at least 14 Shiites were killed in a bombing at a mosque in northern Afghanistan. A few weeks later Baqui ul Ulom mosque in Kabul was targeted when a massive suicide blast claimed by IS killed dozens of worshippers.

by Mushtaq MOJADDIDI

Fires rage in Rakhine as Myanmar army blames Rohingya for mosque blast

September 23, 2017


© AFP/File | Smoke billows from a fire in an area in Myanmar’s Rakhine state as seen from the Bangladeshi shore of the Naf river on September 14, 2017

SITTWE (MYANMAR) (AFP) – Myanmar’s army chief on Saturday blamed Rohinyga militants for an explosion outside a mosque in Rakhine state, as a rights group accused the military of starting fires in the region to prevent refugees from returning.The unrest comes days after Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi declared troops had ceased “clearance operations” in the border area that have forced more than 430,000 Rohingya refugees to flee for Bangladesh in under a month.

The army claims it is targeting Rohingya militants who attacked police posts on August 25. But its operation has been so sweeping and brutal that the UN says it likely amounts to “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya Muslim minority, a group reviled by many in the mainly Buddhist country.

Image may contain: 1 person, hat and sunglasses

 Min Aung Hlaing

On Saturday Myanmar’s commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing posted a statement on Facebook saying Rohingya militants planted a “home-made mine” that exploded in between a mosque and madrasa in northern Rakhine’s Buthidaung township on Friday.

The army chief accused the militants of trying to drive out around 700 hundred villagers who have remained in Mi Chaung Zay — an argument analysts have said makes little sense for a group whose power depends on the networks it has built across Rohingya communities.

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Min Aung Hlaing and Aung San Suu Kyi

“As our villagers did not want to leave their homes, the terrorists blew up the bomb during the prayer time as a way of terrorizing the villagers,” the army chief’s statement said.

“It is the act of ARSA terrorist group,” it added, using an acronym for the Rohingya militant group whose raids on police posts in August triggered the military backlash.

No one was reported injured in the explosion.

With the government blocking access to the conflict zone, it is difficult to verify the swirl of claims and counterclaims over who is driving the unrest, which has also displaced tens of thousands of Buddhists and Hindus.

But rights groups say there is overwhelming evidence that the army is using its crackdown on militants to systematically purge the 1.1-million strong stateless Rohingya from its borders.

– Fires and land mines –

On Friday Amnesty International said new videos and satellite imagery confirmed fires were still ripping through Rohingya villages, scores of which have already been burned to the ground.

“Not satisfied with simply forcing Rohingya from their homes, authorities seem intent on ensuring they have no homes to return to,” said Tirana Hasan from Amnesty.

According to government figures, nearly 40 percent of Rohingya villages in nothern Rakhine have been completely abandoned over the past month.

Many of those who stayed behind are now living in isolated Muslim communities, gripped by fear and cut off from crucial aid, according to the UN’s humanitarian coordination office, UNOCHA.

“Following continuous threats from local Rakhine people to leave, many of these vulnerable people are so terrified that they are calling the Government, the UN and others asking for additional measures to protect them,” UNOCHA said in its latest update.

Human Rights Watch on Saturday also echoed allegations from Bangladeshi officials that Myanmar security forces were laying landmines along the border, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have crossed in the largest mass refugee movement in recent decades.

“The dangers faced by thousands of Rohingya fleeing atrocities in Burma are deadly enough without adding landmines to the mix,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director.

“The Burmese military needs to stop using these banned weapons, which kill and maim without distinction.”

FILE - A man stands in front of a mosque as it burns in Meikhtila, Myanmar, March 21, 2013. A high-level government official in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is set on demolishing hundreds of buildings, including mosques and Islamic religious schools.

FILE – A man stands in front of a mosque as it burns in Meikhtila, Myanmar, March 21, 2013. A high-level government official in Myanmar’s Rakhine State is set on demolishing hundreds of buildings, including mosques and Islamic religious schools.

Afghanistan’s Shi’ites call for protection after latest mosque attack — “This attack could have been avoided. Our government is guilty in this regard.”

August 26, 2017


KABUL (Reuters) – Victims of the latest attack on Shi’ite Muslims in Afghanistan directed their anger squarely at the Afghan government, accusing it of failing to protect them despite repeated attacks.

Suicide bombers and gunmen, some dressed in police uniforms, attacked a mosque in Kabul during prayers on Friday, killing more than 40 people and wounding more than 100, according to mosque leaders.

Many of the victims were women trapped on the mosque’s second floor.

The United Nations put the preliminary toll at 20 civilians killed and more than 30 wounded, while the Interior Ministry said 28 people died and 50 were wounded.

At least 30 victims were buried on Saturday on the grounds of the same mosque as hundreds of family members, friends, and other mourners gathered under bullet-marked buildings.

Inside the mosque itself, blood was spattered everywhere and the walls were burned and scarred.

“The government does not care about us,” said Akhtar Hussain as he attended the funeral of a relative. “What should we expect from a government that has never tried to protect us?”

Islamic State-affiliated militants claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a number of deadly assaults on Afghanistan’s Shi’ite population.

Sectarian violence has been relatively rare in Afghanistan, but since 2015 Islamic State militants have helped escalate fears by killing scores of Shi’ites at mosques, public gatherings and elsewhere.

Friday’s attack was the sixth attack on Shi’ite mosques so far this year, with Islamic State claiming responsibility for half of them, according to the U.N.

“This latest in a series of attacks targeting members of the Shi’a community at worship has no possible justification,” Toby Lanzer, acting head of the U.N. mission in Afghanistan, said in a statement.

“Such attacks directed against congregations and places of worship are serious violations of international law that may amount to war crimes.”

The attacks often take political overtones as members of the Shi’ite minority complain that the government ignores their needs.

“This attack could have been avoided,” said Abdul Razaq Sakha, a leader at the mosque. “Our government is guilty in this regard.”

After past pleas for more protection, the government assigned one policeman to help guard the mosque, he said.

That policeman died alongside a private guard when the attackers stormed the gates.

Mourners who gathered on Saturday said the government should help provide security, otherwise they would take the matter into their own hands.

“A police check point is very close to our mosque but they did not act until terrorists killed and wounded dozens of people,” said Mohammad Jahfar Rezaee, whose aunt died in the attack.

“The government is deaf so we have to defend ourselves at any cost.”

Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Stephen Coates


Al Jazeera

Bombers, gunmen attack Shia Imam Zaman mosque in Kabul

Attackers struck mosque packed with people attending Friday prayers in Afghan capital, killing at least 28 worshippers.

A suicide bombing followed by gunfire as Shia Muslims gathered for Friday prayers at a mosque in Kabul killed at least 28 people, with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group claiming responsibility.

Mohammad Salim Rasouli, the chief of Kabul’s hospitals, announced the new death toll on Saturday, as burials began. He said at least 50 people were injured.

Wailing mourners gathered at the mosque on Saturday to lay the bodies of the dead side by side in graves.

“We used to attend ceremonies such as Ashura together in this mosque, but today I am burying their bodies here,” Hussain Ali, who lost a friend in the attack, told the AFP news agency.

“This is not the first time, it keeps happening. The government has failed to provide us security. Even today in this ceremony people are worried lest something will happen,” he added.

Afghans stand inside the Imam Zaman mosque after Friday’s attack [Mohammad Ismail/Reuters]

Four hours of gunfire, explosions

After the blast at the Imam Zaman mosque in Afghan capital’s Qala-Najara neighbourhood, gunmen stormed in and began shooting.

Terrified worshippers endured about four harrowing hours of gunfire and explosions during the afternoon before the four attackers were killed.

The cleric who was performing the prayers was among the dead, said Mir Hussain Nasiri, a member of Afghanistan’s Shia clerical council.

The mosque is large and can accomodate up to 1,000 people.

Policemen made an attempt to enter the mosque but withdrew after one of the attackers set off an explosion, said police official Mohammad Sadiq Muradi.

“The attackers are slaughtering people like sheep, but there’s no one to go and rescue them,” Murtaza, a young boy whose parents were trapped inside, said as the assault unfolded. “A lot of people are on the ground, and no one is trying to rescue them.”

A sprawling cavernous prayer hall dominates the main floor. The second floor is where the women pray.

Nasiri said when police initially sought to get into the mosque, the attackers blocked the door leading to the second floor, which he said would mean they held the women hostage.

Afghan security forces arrive at the site of the suicide attack [Reuters]

Al Jazeera’s Jennifer Glasse, reporting from the scene, quoted eyewitnesses as saying the assailants had run out of ammunition and started stabbing worshippers with knives. Some of the victims included children and women.

“It was a busy time, in the middle of Friday prayer as the attack took place,” said Glasse.

ISIL’s affiliate in Afghanistan claimed responsibility. ISIL-linked Aamaq website said on Friday two of its fighters carried out the assault. It did not give further details.

The attack was the latest by ISIL to hit the Afghan capital. Last month it hit the Iraqi embassy in Kabul and afterwards issued a warning to all Shia in Afghanistan, saying its cadres would attack Shia places of worship.

Within days of the embassy attack, ISIL also took responsibility for a suicide assault on a Shia mosque in western Herat province that killed 32 people.

Afghan policemen try to rescue a child at the site of athe suicide attack [Omar Sobhani/Reuters]

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

ISIS Claims Deadly Attack on Shiite Mosque in Afghanistan

August 25, 2017

KABUL, Afghanistan — Suicide attackers stormed a crowded mosque in Kabul during Friday Prayer, officials said, killing at least 20 people and wounding dozens of others in the latest in a series of deadly attacks against Shiites in Afghanistan.

The Islamic State, which previously claimed deadly assaults against Shiite targets in the country, said its militants were behind the attack, according to the group’s Amaq news agency.

Worshipers who had jumped out of windows and fled barefoot from the siege described scenes of panic and bloodshed after gunmen entered the compound in a residential area in the north of the city. The men stormed in after an explosion, believed to have been caused by grenades thrown at security guards at the entrance.

Eidi Muhammad Akbari, who fled to safety, said that hundreds of people had been stuck inside.

“Half of the mosque was full of worshipers — women upstairs and men downstairs, hundreds of men and women,” he said, pacing barefoot. “They threw a grenade inside and then entered.”

Fleeing the area of the mosque attack. Worshipers who had jumped out of windows described scenes of panic after gunmen had entered the compound. Credit Mohammad Ismail/Reuters

Multiple heavy explosions were heard. As plumes of thick smoke rose above the mosque, witnesses said, the Afghan forces tore down a rear wall to rescue dozens of worshipers trapped inside.

“I personally helped evacuate 20 dead bodies, many of them women,” said Sayed Hussain, who managed to get inside the mosque to look for his friends. “They had killed people wherever they found them.”

Nearly four hours after it began, the siege was declared over by elite Afghan forces.

“We are still transferring casualties to hospitals,” said Mohammed Ismail Kawoosi, a spokesman for the Afghan Health Ministry.

Read the rest:


Kabul Shia mosque attacked, leaving 10 dead — Militants carried out a “commando” attack on the mosque.

August 25, 2017

BBC News

Security forces deploy to the site of the attack

At least 10 people have been killed and 30 injured in an attack on a Shia mosque in the Afghan capital, Kabul, officials say.

A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the mosque’s gate before two gunmen entered as worshippers gathered for afternoon prayers.

Afghan special forces fought a four-hour gun battle with the attackers and say the gunmen are now dead.

So-called Islamic State (IS) said it was behind the attack.

The group’s news outlet, Amaq, said militants had carried out a “commando” attack on the mosque.

Children and police officers are among the victims of Friday’s attack, interior ministry officials say.

Last month, dozens of people were killed when a car bomb struck a bus carrying government employees in the capital. The Taliban said they were behind that attack.

An Afghan man who fled the mosque when a suicide bomber attacked it leaves the scene, in Kabul, Afghanistan, 25 August 2017
One survivor was covered in blood from the attack. EPA photo

Suicide bomber, gunmen attack Shiite mosque in Kabul — More than 10 ambulances were at the scene

August 25, 2017

Image result for ambulances, kabul, afghanistan, photos

KABUL (AFGHANISTAN) (AFP) – A suicide bomber and gunmen attacked a Shiite mosque in an ongoing attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Friday, officials said, the latest assault to highlight the war-torn country’s deteriorating security situation.

Gunshots could be heard and witnesses reported seeing worshippers smash windows to escape the building.

More than 10 ambulances were at the scene and dozens of security forces have surrounded the mosque, in a residential area in the city’s north.

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  Shiite mosque during an ongoing attack, Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. AP photo

Kabul police spokesman Abdul Basir Mujahid told AFP a suicide bomber “detonated himself inside the mosque”, adding that there were casualties but could not confirm numbers.

An interior ministry spokesman told media that at least two police officers had been killed. A health ministry official confirmed at least two people had died and 11 were wounded, without specifying if they were civilians.

People gathered outside the mosque, believed to have been crowded with Friday worshippers, were trying to call women and children trapped inside but their mobile phones were not responding, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

“Our relatives have been stranded inside the mosque… We believe they have been held hostage by the gunmen. We are very concerned about their safety and may God help us and rescue our loved ones,” one said.

Tempers were beginning to fray as onlookers called for the forces to storm the building.

The assault underscores spiralling insecurity in Afghanistan as a resurgent Taliban steps up offensives across the country, while the Sunni Islamic State group, known for carrying out sectarian attacks, expands its Afghan footprint.

It comes just days after US President Donald Trump pledged American troops would stay in Afghanistan indefinitely.

Najib Danish, a deputy spokesman for the interior ministry, told TOLOnews that initial information suggested a suicide bomber detonated himself and two or three other militants had entered the mosque and were exchanging fire with police.

“Two Afghan police forces were martyred and two others were wounded and have been taken to hospital. All the four police officers were responsible for the security of the site,” Danish wrote on Facebook.

“The bombers are running short of bullet rounds and they are using knives to stab worshippers,” an eyewitness told an AFP reporter.

Witnesses said the attackers were also armed with rocket propelled grenade launchers.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Shiites, a minority of around three million in overwhelmingly Sunni Afghanistan, have regularly been targeted by IS jihadists over the past year. They accuse police and troops of failing to protect them.

IS has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks killing dozens of Shiites in Kabul over the past year, including twin explosions in July 2016 that ripped through crowds of Shiite Hazaras, killing at least 85 people and wounding more than 400.

Earlier this month 33 worshippers were killed and 66 wounded in a suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State Group on a Shiite mosque in the western Afghan city of Herat.

by Mushtaq MOJADDIDI

Trump official Gorka derided for US mosque attack claim

August 9, 2017

Trump remains silent but adviser Sebastian Gorka suggests Minnesota attack could have been staged.


No one was hurt in the attack on a mosque near Minneapolis, Minnesota [AP Photo]

A senior White House official’s suggestion that the bomb attack on a mosque in the US state of Minnesota could have been staged has sparked derision on social media.

Sebastian Gorka, a senior adviser to US President Donald Trump, told MSNBC on Tuesday that some recent hate crimes were fake.

He failed to give examples to back his allegations.

The comments led to criticism of the official, who has ties to far-right activists in Hungary and was sacked from a consultancy role by the FBI over his anti-Islam rhetoric, according to US outlet, the Daily Beast.

When asked by anchors whether the White House would be commenting on the Minnesota bombing that took place in the early hours on Saturday, Gorka said it would but only after an investigation into who was behind the attack.

“There’s a great rule, all initial reports are false, you have to check them, you have to find out who the perpetrators are,” said Gorka.

“We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes by right-wing individuals, in the last six months, which turned out to be actually propagated by the left.”

Sebastian Gorka has ties to a Hungarian far-right order historically linked to the Nazis [Susan Walsh/AP]

“People fake hate crimes in the last six months with some regularity. I think it’s wise to find out what exactly is going on before you make statements,” he added.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, which documents hate crimes, noted 1,863 incidents between Trump’s election in November 2016 and April 2017.

In May, two men were killed by a white supremacist in Oregon when they tried to stop him abusing two Muslim girls on a bus.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) noted a 91 percent rise in anti-Muslim hate crime since the start of the year.

The comments by the Trump official on MSNBC prompted criticism online.

FBI investigation

No one was hurt when the explosion happened during morning prayers at the mosque in Bloomington, a suburb of Minneapolis.

The mosque affected has received more than $100,000 in donations after the attack.

The FBI is trying to determine who was behind the explosion and Minnesota’s Governor Mark Dayton has labelled the incident a “terrorist attack”.

Trump has not spoken about the attack on the place of worship but has posted 26 tweets on topics as varied as “fake news”, the “failing” New York Times, a senator he described as a “con artist”, the ongoing tensions with North Korea, and new job figures.

The US president was criticised on social media after the attack for his silence and his lack of response to other attacks when the perpetrators do not appear to be Muslim.

Far-right links

In April the online magazine Forward published a piece detailing Gorka’s ties to a Hungarian far-right groups that stretched back decades.

Vitezi Rend has historic links to the Nazis during their occupation of Hungary, but Gorka said he “never swore allegiance formally”.

Source: Al Jazeera News


Minnesota mosque explosion: FBI says it is investigating possible hate crime

August 7, 2017

Investigators are looking for suspects in the early-morning attack

By Emily Shugerman New York

The Independent 

The FBI is looking for suspects in an explosion at a Minnesota mosque where worshippers had assembled for morning prayers. Officials are investigating whether the explosion was a hate crime.

The blast went off early Saturday morning at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, according to Bloomington Police Chief Jeff Potts. A room in the mosque was damaged, but no people were harmed.

Richard Thornton, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Minneapolis Division, said the blast appeared to have been caused by an improvised explosive device. The FBI recovered pieces of the device from the scene.

The agency is now looking for the person responsible for the explosion, and seeking to determine whether it was a hate crime.

“At this point, our focus is to determine who and why,” Mr Thornton said at a press conference. “Is it a hate crime? Is it an act of terror?”

They FBI have so far interviewed witnesses, sent evidence to labs, and collected video and cellphone data for analysis.

The Bloomington Police thanked the FBI and the community as a whole for their help, tweeting: “Thank you Bloomington community for your kind words & support today. We will always be here for you & will serve to the best of our ability.”

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke is also aware of the situation, and is in contact with federal and local authorities.

“The Department of Homeland Security fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution,” the DHS said in a statement. “We are thankful that there were no injuries, but that does not diminish the serious nature of this act.”

Police, federal authorities investigating early morning explosion at Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Report came in at 5:05 AM

Neighbours in the sleepy suburb reported waking up to a loud bang on Saturday morning. Windows in the imam’s office at the mosque were shattered, and smoke poured through the building. Asad Zaman, director of the local Muslim American Society, described the attack as a “firebombing”.

Mohamed Omar, the centre’s executive director, said one member saw a pickup truck speeding away from the scene shortly after the explosion. He added that the mosque has received threatening phone calls and emails in the past.

The number of anti-Muslim hate crimes has almost doubled this year compared to the same time period in 2016, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The Council documented 35 attacks on mosques in the first three months of this year.

One regular worshipper at Dar Al-Farooq condemned Saturday’s attacks in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here — freedom to worship,” said Yasir Abdalrahman. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”

FBI: IED caused explosion at Bloomington mosque

August 6, 2017


BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The FBI says an improvised explosive device is to blame for an explosion at an Islamic center Saturday.

No one was injured in the blast at Dar Al-farooq Islamic Center at about 5:05 a.m.

Bloomington police have handed the investigation over to the FBI Minneapolis Field Office, which held a press conference Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Rick Thornton says now that the device has been identified, the investigation is focused on who and why. He says they cannot answer the question of whether it is a hate crime at this time.

The explosion went off inside an office just before first prayer, according to Bloomington police. Members of the center say there were people inside the building at the time.

Police say there is some damage to the building, including a broken window on the outside. They say it’s not clear whether the explosive was thrown through the window, or the explosion caused the window to break.

There are currently no suspects in custody, and anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, using option #1.

Bloomington police say the FBI will continue to work closely with them, as well as with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and other partners.

Several people from other local faith groups spoke at a press conference Saturday at noon to show their support for Dar Al-farooq.

“An attack on a mosque is an attack on a synagogue is an attack on a church,” said Curtiss Deyoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches. “It’s an attack on all faith communities. And so we stand with you, a million Protestants in Minnesota.”

Hamdy El-Sawaf, president of the Islamic Community Center of Minnesota board, also gave a message of unity among religious groups.

“We gather together today hands in hands and shoulder to shoulder to give a very clear and precise message,” he said. “We’re not only the Muslims who do have this message, but it is Muslims, Christians, Jews, people of faith all over, we believe that the values of our religion (are) totally, absolutely against what happened today.”

Dar Al-farooq’s executive director, Mohamed Omar, said a congregation member witnessed a truck fleeing at a high speed immediately after the blast.

The Muslim American Society of Minnesota is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement Saturday, saying in part:

“Every place of worship, for all Minnesotans of every faith and culture, must be sacred and safe. My prayers are with the children, families, and faith leaders of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center today.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar also responded in a statement, saying:

“This is a time for Minnesotans to stand together in opposition to hate. It saddens beyond words to know that someone in our state would set an explosion in a place where children gather every day to learn and play.”

My statement after an early morning explosion was discovered at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington today:


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