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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Arizona mosque targeted in "acid bomb" attack

Police in Arizona said two unidentified men tossed a bottle filled with acid at a Phoenix area mosque early on Monday, splashing a caustic chemical near a Muslim cleric involved in a high-profile discrimination suit.

A Glendale Police Department spokesman said two men driving in a red car threw a soda bottle filled with acid and a reactant at the Albanian American Islamic Center of Arizona, in Glendale, west of Phoenix, around 1 a.m. (O800 GMT) on Monday.

The bottle, which contained pool cleaner and strips of tin foil, burst some 20-25 feet away from Imam Didmar Faja and another mosque official, although neither man was injured, sergeant Jim Toomey said.

"The bottle ruptured in front of them and they smelled a strong chemical smell when it went off," Toomey said.

"We are treating it as a hate crime. We are taking it very seriously," he added.

Faja is one of six Muslim clerics known as the "Flying Imams" who are bringing a suit against US Airways alleging discrimination after they were removed from a Minneapolis to Phoenix flight last November. [Link]

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