Mosque arson suspects described; graffiti unrelated to incident

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More details are coming out of the Minneapolis mosque that was attacked with arson early Thursday morning.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, arson unit investigator with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Sean McKenna said that the graffiti painted on the mosque’s wall is an old one, likely done by a known gang group unrelated to the arson incident.

McKenna also described the two suspects as a black man and a white man, between the ages of 20-30. The black man is the first trespasser with a flashlight who ended up leaving the property without inflicting any damage. The white man, McKenna explained, is the one who started the fire using a lawnmower gas tank.

McKenna believes that both men live within walking distance of the mosque. Because security cameras took full body pictures of both suspects, McKenna says that he is very confident that they will be brought to justice soon.

Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff, who represents the ward where the mosque is located, expressed outrage on the incident.

“On behalf of the City Council and the mayor of Minneapolis, I’m here to denounce this hateful crime that targeted this mosque. There is no place for something like this in our neighborhood,” Schiff said.

Also expressing outrage at Friday’s press conference was Alan Silver, the president of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC).

“Our community – which often suffers acts of hatred and vandalism- shares in the concern and condemnation of this hurtful act.” said Silver in a press statement.

Captain Rich Stanek of the Minneapolis Police Department said that there will be an extra patrol in the area.

Mosque officials said that they’re flattered by the support and solidarity of the law enforcement agencies and other faith-based communities.

A reward of up to $2,500 is available for anyone with information about the case who calls the Arson Office at (612) 673-3070.

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