November 28th, 2010
06:48 PM ET

Oregon mosque attended by bomb plot suspect target of apparent arson

The FBI announced a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for an apparent attack on an Oregon Islamic center that was attended by the man authorities say was behind a foiled bomb plot at a recent Portland Christmas tree lighting.

A fire appears to have started sometime early Sunday morning at the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, authorities said. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was seized in connection with the plan to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, occasionally attended the center, the mosque's imam told CNN.

The blaze - discovered by a police officer who was driving by - was likely set intentionally, said Carla Pusateri, a fire prevention officer with the Corvallis Fire Department.

"We have made it quite clear that the FBI will not tolerate any kind of retribution or attack on the Muslim community," said Arthur Balizan, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, on Sunday. "We are working very closely with the leadership at the mosque. We will find the person responsible for this attack and bring the full force of the federal justice system to bear."

"I was shocked," said Imam Yosof Wanly of the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center, in response to a question about how he felt when he learned of Mohamud's arrest.

Mohamud is a 19-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia.

"I wish I could have intervened in a way to consult him. I wish he could have spoken to me," said Wanly, his voice breaking with emotion. "He destroyed his future."

–CNN's Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Houses of worship • Mosque • United States • Violence

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