August 06, 2017 10:15 PM
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS got the first look inside a Bloomington mosque where an improvised explosive device detonated early Saturday morning.
Damage was visible to the windows, ceiling, carpet and furniture at the site of the explosion near an imam's office in the building.
Mohamed Omar, executive director of the center, was inside at the time and said something came through an office window during morning prayers and set off sprinklers in a ball of fire. A van or pickup truck was seen driving by before the explosion.
The building sustained "significant damage." About a dozen people were inside at the time, but no injuries were reported.
Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said at a news conference Sunday a group of six organizations have offered as much as a $24,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person or persons who perpetrated the detonation.
The mosque serves as a religious center and community organizing platform for Muslim activists and leaders in the area, according to the society.
The incident had not been labeled as a hate crime by the investigating agencies, but Gov. Mark Dayton said Sunday that the bombing was "an act of terrorism."
He also said in a statement, "Every place of worship, for all Minnesotans of every faith and culture, must be sacred and safe."
U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress said, "That bomb does not represent Bloomington," and called for a response of love and inclusiveness.
According to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, there have been 14 anti-Muslim incidents in 2017, a record high. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the country with 57,000 people.
The FBI is now the lead agency investigating the explosion. Agents have collected parts of the IED looking for a technical signature or DNA left by the bomb maker.
The FBI set up a tip hotline: 800-225-5324.
There is a public event scheduled for Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Islamic Center to show support.
Andrew Heiser & Beth McDonough
Updated: August 06, 2017 10:15 PM
Created: August 06, 2017 12:01 PM
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