Sun Aug 6, 2017 5:20AM
FBI agents and others inspect the site where an explosion happened at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, on August 5, 2017.  (Photo via MPR News)
FBI agents and others inspect the site where an explosion happened at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, on August 5, 2017. (Photo via MPR News)

An explosive device has detonated at a mosque in the US state of Minnesota while worshipers were preparing for morning prayers, officials say.

The explosion at the Dar al-Farooq Center in Bloomington before dawn Saturday did not cause any injuries but left a room damaged, according to witnesses and authorities.

“If a bias motive is proven, this attack would represent another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months,” said Amir Malik, the local chapter’s civil rights director.

Law enforcement officials investigate an explosion at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn., on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017.(Photo via Star Tribune)

The blast heavily damaged the imam’s office, sending smoke out of the large building, but the worshipers managed to put out the fire before firefighters arrived at the scene.

A preliminary investigation shows “an improvised explosive device” caused the explosion “in violation of federal law,” Minnesota police said.

FBI has taken the lead in the investigation which was also joined by agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“The post-blast environment is very detailed,” Special Agent in Charge Richard Thornton said at an early evening news conference.

“You search the wide area in an attempt to find as many components as you can of the device to help us understand how the device was made. That process is substantially complete.”

Mohamed Omar, the executive director of the mosque speaks during an interfaith press conference following the explosion. (Photo via MPR News)

The US Department of Homeland Security issued a news release saying that acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke has been informed of the explosion and was “in close contact” with all the relevant officials as the investigation continues.

“The Department of Homeland Security fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution,” the DHS said. “We are thankful that there were no injuries, but that does not diminish the serious nature of this act.”

On May 9, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a report that the number of anti-Muslim bias incidents in the US saw a 57% rise in 2016, attributing it, in part, to Donald Trump's rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants during his presidential campaign in 2016.

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Before winning the election, Trump had promised to impose a “complete and total shutdown” on Muslims entering the US, framing it as an effort to prevent attacks in the country.

A group of women took part in afternoon prayers after the blast. (Photo via startribune.com)

Yasir Abdalrahman, a worshiper at the mosque, said, “We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship,” but “that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”