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Arson at Oregon Bomb Plot Suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud's Mosque

The Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Ore (CBS/KVAL)

Arson at Oregon Bomb Plot Suspect's Mosque
The Salman Al-Farisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Ore. (CBS/KVAL)

CORVALLIS, Ore. (CBS/KVAL/AP) Anger over a Somali-born teen's failed plan to blow up a van full of explosives during Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony erupted in arson on Sunday when a fire damaged an Islamic center frequented by the suspect, authorities said.

Police don't know who started the blaze or exactly why, but they believe the Islamic center in Corvallis was targeted because terror suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, occasionally worshipped there.

Yosof Wanly, the imam at the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center, said he was advised by friends to take his family out of their home because of the potential threat of hate crime, and members decried the alleged arson attack. No one was injured, and the fire was contained to one room.

"We know how it is," Wanly said. "We know some people due to ignorance are going to perceive of these things and hold most Muslims accountable."

According to CBS affiliate KVAL, the FBI is working closely with the leaders at the center as agents investigated the fire. A $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to an arrest.

Mohamud was being held on charges of plotting to carry out a terror attack in Portland. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

On Friday, he parked what he thought was a bomb-laden van near the ceremony and then went to a nearby train station, where he dialed a cell phone that he believed would detonate the vehicle, federal authorities said. Instead, federal authorities moved in and arrested him. No one was hurt.

Authorities have not explained how Mohamud, an Oregon State University student until he dropped out on Oct. 6, became so radicalized. Mohamud graduated from high school in Beaverton.

Wanly described him as a normal student who went to athletic events, drank the occasional beer and was into rap music and culture. In the days leading up to his arrest Friday, however, Mohamud's friends thought he appeared on edge, Wanly said.

Officials said Mohamud had no formal ties to foreign terror groups, although he had reached out to suspected terrorists in Pakistan.

  • Edecio Martinez

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