Early Saturday morning an “improvised explosive device” was thrown into the Bloomington Islamic center. According to the Star Tribune (startribune.com) the blast heavily damaged an Inman’s office and sent smoke through the building. Windows were shattered. The blast was reported at 5:05 am when about a dozen people had gathered in a room for morning prayers. Thankfully no one was injured.
Any act of violence perpetuated on any place of worship is completely unacceptable. Words can hardly express how wrong this act is.
Fortunately the community is responding in solidarity. I especially appreciated a comment shared by Rev. Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, "An attack on a mosque is an attack on a synagogue is an attack on a church is an attack on all faith communities."
Asad Zaman, executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said the reward for information leading to the capture of the perpetrator has grown to $24,000.
Mohamed Omar, executive director of the Islamic center, announced the creation of a GoFundMe page which has a goal of raising $95,000 to repair the damage. I contributed to that page myself, and I encourage everyone reading this blog to contribute. That site is: https://www.gofundme.com/support-dar-al-farooq-center
In the past year some leaders of Chain of Lakes have started to develop relationships with the leaders of the Blaine Muslim Community Center (BCC). That place of worship is located about a mile from where Chain of Lakes worships. At the Lobby Day for the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) this past spring, I sat around the table with many leaders of the BCC. I shared with them the desire of the people of Chain of Lakes to be in relationship with them. They invited some leaders of Chain of Lakes to be with them as they broke their fast for Ramadan.
Yesterday I approached some leaders from Chain of Lakes about ways that our congregation can respond in solidarity to the BCC. I’m guessing that people from that community feel frightened today. What happened in Bloomington could happen in Blaine. I anticipate that Chain of Lakes will be reaching out in solidarity with our friends at the BCC in significant ways this week. I am planning on visiting the BCC in person this week to declare my own solidarity with them.
I hope that all religious leaders will take some time this week to reach out in solidarity with Muslim leaders in their community. Religious leaders cannot stop acts of hatred, but we can all share that we will not stay silent when these acts of hatred happen.