Police: Leader of Bloomington mosque attacked while heading to prayer

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One of the leaders of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center was attacked while on his way to pray at the mosque, according to police.

The attack on Imam Mohamed Mukhtar happened late Thursday night as he was walking from his home to the mosque to attend the final prayer for the day.

Bloomington Police Department said the victim reported that two people came from behind and began assaulting him. He was transported to Fairview Southdale Hospital, where he suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say it’s too early to know whether it’s considered a hate crime.

Mohamed Omar, Executive Director of the Dar Al-Farooq center, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that while he doesn’t know the motives of the men who attacked Mukhtar, the community feels targeted.

“I’m angry because we shouldn’t be dealing with this,” Omar said. “This will create another level of fear within the community.”

By Friday afternoon, dozens of neighbors of the mosque arrived at the entrance of the parking lot with signs of support. The group, who calls themselves Neighbors Together in Solidarity, has been coming out to the mosque regularly since it was bombed three years ago this week.

“Not again… not again,” said Karen Wills, who organized the group.

“We do not tolerate a space where people on their way to worship are going to be harassed and persecuted,” she said.

Bloomington Police said its officers searched the area and did not find the two suspects who were described as being in their late teens or early twenties. One was described as a white male and one as a black male. The two were said to have met up with two other men in a nearby park prior to the assault.

This assault is an active investigation. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the department at 952-563-4900.