CAIR: TWO MEN SOUGHT AFTER FIRE AT MINNEAPOLIS MOSQUE
Two men are being sought in connection with an arson fire at a south Minneapolis mosque early Thursday that a City Council member labeled a hate crime.
The blaze at the Abuubakar As- Sadique Islamic Center also has caught the attention of the FBI and two Islamic civil-rights groups, which are calling for the federal agency's assistance.
"There's no doubt this was clearly a hate crime," Council Member Gary Schiff, whose ward includes the mosque, said Friday outside the center. "It was a very deliberate offense."
Minneapolis police Sgt. Sean McKenna said the fire at 2834 13th Av. S. apparently started about 5:30 a.m. More than two hours earlier, police think, someone pried open a bathroom window.
McKenna said burglary or a bias crime could be motives.
The fire damaged dozens of religious books, including copies of the Qur'an. . .
This is the third reported arson fire at a mosque in the Twin Cities area in the past seven years, said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman with the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group from Washington.
He said that a fire damaged a storage shed at a mosque in Columbia Heights in 2004 and that arsonists destroyed the Islamic Cultural Community Center in northeast Minneapolis in 1999.
In a statement Friday, Hooper urged authorities in this latest case to find the "perpetrators and determine whether or not this incident was motivated by anti-Muslim bias."