BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz and faith leaders visited a Bloomington mosque Friday in a show of solidarity with an imam who was assaulted while walking to nightly prayers.
They gathered at the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center to call for religious acceptance and unity in response to the Aug. 6 attack on Sheikh Mohamed Mukhtar, while prosecutors Friday announced the arrests and charges against two teenagers, ages 16 and 13.
The imam was assaulted just one day after the three-year anniversary of a bombing at the mosque. He suffered two shoulder fractures. Police said last week that there was no immediate evidence it was a bias crime. The announcement of the charges from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office did not give a motive.
"Dar al-Farooq is not defined by that bombing. Imam Mukhtar is not defined by an attack as he went to worship. But Minnesota could be," Walz said at news conference, flanked by Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Archbishop Bernard Hebda, Imam Mohamed Omar of the mosque and other local faith and political leaders.
An Illinois militia leader accused of being the ringleader in the 2017 bombing is still awaiting trial. Two co-defendants have pleaded guilty. Prosecutors allege they hoped to scare Muslims into leaving the U.S. No one was injured in that attack.