JAISAL NOOR: An early-morning bombing of a Minneapolis mosque has been called “an act of terrorism” by Minnesota governor Mark Dayton. The FBI took over the investigation Saturday of the bombing that caused no injuries.
OFFICER JEFF POTTS: The first responders, when they arrived, observed some smoke and some damage to a limited portion of the community center. Good thing in this event here, there were no injuries. We’ve been able to confirm throughout the day that no one was sent to the hospital and that there are no injuries. As soon as we determined that the scene was safe, we began working with our law enforcement partners and anytime there’s a fire or an explosion in a place of worship, that by itself will get a response from the ATF and the FBI.
J. NOOR: Anti-Muslim incidents have risen sharply in the United States over the past year, according to a review by The Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, which offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the Minneapolis area bomber.
FBI AGENT RICK THORNTON: It was an improvised explosive device that was set off early this morning. Moving ahead, our investigation will continue all the things that you would expect. It’s ongoing, interviewing witnesses, sending items to our various labs for further analysis, looking at videos, cell phone data, all the potential areas that we can go.
J. NOOR: Police in Bloomington, Minnesota, were called at 5:05 a.m. about an explosion at the Dar Al-Farooq Mosque after a bomb was thrown through the window of the imam’s office while worshipers were gathered for morning prayers. Again, there were no injuries.
HAMDY EL-SAWAF: We assure those who do not have the consciousness of who we are, we will never come to our knees in front of them. We will keep resisting ’til we’re assured that the value of this country are in the highest level ever. It cannot be perpetrated by one individual or a group of people or a group of terrorists. We’re here, all together, in order to defend the values of our country, the values of our faith, the values of our people.
J. NOOR: According to CAIR, the number of biased incidents in 2017 has increased by 24% compared to the first half of 2016, from 986 incidents to 1,302.
FATHER DENNIS ERIN: We are always gonna stand together with people of good will to promote peace and to denounce any forms of senseless violence. We pledge to you our prayers and our solidarity as we go forth from here.
ASAD ZAMAN: Hate is not okay. We need a better America. We need an America where people are safe with their neighbors. Targeting people because of their race, their ethnicity, or their religion is absolutely un-American.
J. NOOR: Experts link spikes in hate crimes against Muslims not only with Donald Trump’s rhetoric but also US foreign policy. We’re bringing you a portion of a previous interview with author Arun Kundnani.
DONALD TRUMP: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.
ARUN KUNDNANI: The rhetoric of Trump, it corresponds to many policies that have already been in place for some time after 9/11. We already rounded up thousands of Muslims within the United States and deported them simply because they are Muslim. We already have put every mosque in New York City under surveillance by the New York Police Department simply because they are mosques. You already had politicians across the board asking that no Syrian should be able to come as a refugee just because they were from Syria. We already had 1.2 million people on the terrorism watch list. I think for the mainstream political culture, denouncing Trump as somehow saying stuff that is beyond the pale for the mainstream isn’t quite right. He’s not an outlier. What he’s doing is, as I said, just making explicit what has already been implicit in our mainstream political culture. He is a symptom of a widespread problem of Islamophobia.
We have been sold a story by so-called experts now for 20 years, which is that there is some kind of inherent connection between Islam and terrorism. That argument is made in many different ways. But essentially it boils down to that claim and the claim is obviously false. We have created a new kind of racism in the United States directed at Muslims. It comes out of, obviously, a much longer history of racism in the United States.