Pipe bombing of Minnesota mosque reveals anxieties about spike in Islamophobia in U.S.

Federal authorities have arrested three men from Illinois that they believe were responsible for pipe bombing the Dar Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota in August 2017[1]. The men, who have also been implicated in trying to bomb an abortion clinic and rob the home of a Hispanic family, reportedly told authorities that they did not want to kill anyone, but that they wanted to “scare” Muslims “out of the country” and to “show them hey, you’re not welcome here, get the f— out”[2].

The attack “sent shockwaves through Muslim communities across the state. It increased anxiety for many in America, who felt the attack hit way too close to home”[3]. The governor subsequently declared the incident an act of terror[4] and Trump has been criticised by Muslim leaders for not condemning the attack[5].

A member of and volunteer at the Dar Al-Farooq mosque said of the arrests, “We are happy that the people are caught … At the same time we’re a little bit shocked that they came all the way from Illinois just to cause hate on the community”[6].

CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organisation, has identified “an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president”[7], and it is evident that Muslim members of Minnesota are concerned about this.

Over the past year, a mosque in downtown Minnesota has been working to develop a security plan to protect itself and have been liaising with the police to build trust between the local Muslim community and law enforcement[8].

In addition, the Minnesota branch of CAIR has called on mosques and Islamic centres in greater Minnesota to better prepare for threats and attacks, and recently called for a state and a federal investigation of a newly-discovered video which shows members of the North Dakota Security Force III% shooting at and destroying a replica “mosque”[9].

[1] I Hooper, 2018; CAIR, 2018.

[2] Phillips, 2018.

[3] I Hooper, 2018; Phillips, 2018.

[4] Montemayor, 2018.

[5] Phillips, 2018.

[6] Montemayor, 2018.

[7] CAIR, 2018.

[8] I Hooper, 2018.

[9] CAIR, 2018.

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CAIR. (2018) ‘CAIR-Minnesota, Community Leaders to Respond to Arrest of Bloomington Mosque Bombing Suspects’. [online] 13 March. https://www.cair.com/press-center/press-releases/15028-cair-minnesota-community-leaders-to-respond-to-arrest-of-bloomington-mosque-bombing-suspects.html. [Accessed 21 March 2018].

I Hooper. (2018) ‘Video: CAIR-Minnesota Urges Mosques to Boost Security After Arrest of Terror Bombing Suspects’. [online] (video) 15 March. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0jr_bboTyA. [Accessed 21 March 2018].

Montemayor, S. (2018) ‘Three men arrested in Illinois case are charged with Bloomington mosque bombing’. [online] 14 March. http://www.startribune.com/federal-authorities-to-announce-developments-in-bloomington-mosque-bombing-case/476716263/. [Accessed 21 March 2018].

Phillips, K. (2018) ‘He wanted to build Trump’s border wall. He was just charged in the bombing of a Minnesota mosque’. [online] 14 March. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/03/14/he-wanted-to-build-trumps-border-wall-he-was-just-charged-in-the-bombing-of-a-minnesota-mosque/?utm_term=.53f88261c6bb. [Accessed 21 March 2018].