Major fire erupts during Minnesota's sixth mosque attack this year

Major fire erupts during Minnesota's sixth mosque attack this year
A major fire at a mosque in Saint Paul is Minnesota's sixth mosque attack this year, putting local Muslims, largely Somalis, on edge.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
18 May, 2023
Arson is suspected in the latest mosque attack in Minnesota. [Getty]

Minnesota has seen the sixth attack on a mosque in 2023, this time a major fire, putting the state on track for a record year for mosque attacks.

This latest incident occurred at the Oromo American Twhid Islamic Center in Saint Paul, which caught fire on Wednesday morning. The blaze, suspected to be arson, caused extensive damage. The structure was empty at the time, and no one was hurt.

It has, however, shaken local residents and Muslim worshippers, largely from the Somali community, who have been put on edge by the repeated mosque attacks over the past several months.

"Unfortunately, today, this morning, this mosque has been completely burned," Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Minnesota, said at a press conference hours after the incident.

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"This is one of the most serious or burning attacks against a mosque that we know of today in the state of Minnesota," he added. 

He noted that they will be asking for an increase in security patrols and will ask law enforcement to pay close attention to mosques.

Hussein emphasised, "We are not going to be quiet about this. We're going to make sure that all houses of worship are protected in the state of Minnesota. And we will not allow this trend, where we are now, six mosques, that's the most in the country. The majority of attacks against mosques in America are happening in our state, a state that I personally believe has incredibly hospitable and welcoming people."

"We will rebuild, and we will continue to practice our faith without fear," he said. 

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"The fire at our Oromo American Twhid Islamic Center is another attack in a growing and disturbing trend of violence against our Muslim neighbours," Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. 

"An affront to one of our houses of worship is an affront to us all. Religious intolerance and bigotry have no place in Saint Paul," he added. 

Minnesota's previous mosque attack occurred on Friday, also in Saint Paul. Prior to that, there were two mosque attacks in Minnesota on two consecutive days in April. Last year, the state saw nine attacks on mosques, among the highest number in the country.