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Minneapolis police investigating hit-and-run outside mosque as potential hate crime

Surveillance video shows a car speeding towards a man
Surveillance video shows a car speeding towards a man 00:30

MINNEAPOLIS — Police say they are investigating a hit-and-run outside a Minneapolis mosque as a potential bias crime.

Officers were called to the parking lot of Alhikma Islamic Center, located at 116 32nd Street West, just before noon on Wednesday, according to the Minneapolis Police Department.

Police say a 36-year-old man had been retrieving items from his car when a minivan drove toward him at a high rate of speed. The man attempted to run when the driver of the minivan swerved and struck him.

The man suffered injuries that are not life-threatening and was transported to Hennepin Healthcare for treatment, police say.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara says investigators know the suspect and that he has a "history of trespassing and acting erratically at the mosque and in the neighborhood."

"Based on the information gathered by our investigators so far, I am concerned that this crime may have been motivated by bias," O'Hara said. "We won't tolerate any crime in our city. But hate crimes and crimes against our houses of worship are particularly troubling because of the very real widespread fear they generate and the potential division they create among our residents."

O'Hara says police patrol in the area will be enhanced.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says the victim was one of its staffers and that the suspect has been harassing the mosque and worshippers for three years.

"This apparently intentional attack outside a religious institution must be investigated as a possible hate crime," said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-Minnesota. "We urge stepped-up security and increased vigilance at Islamic institutions statewide."

Officers arrested the suspect late Wednesday night.

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