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Two men shot while heading to mosque in 'bias motivated' incident

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Police in Minneapolis are investigating a "bias motivated crime" after two Muslim men were shot on their way to a mosque.

The incident happened just before 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday at the intersection of 14th Ave. SE and 6th St. SE in Dinkytown, when shots were heard in the area.

The two victims later turned up at the University of Minnesota Hospital with gunshot wounds, according to a Minneapolis Police news release.

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said on its Facebook page that the men were dressed in "Islamic attire" and were headed to a local mosque to perform nightly Ramadan prayers.

One of the victims, 22-year-old Metropolitan State University Student Hussein Gelle, told MPR that the shooter made disparaging comments about Muslims shortly before opening fire.

Their wounds were not life-threatening and police are following up on leads developed at the scene and at the hospital, after initially being unable to find any suspects, according to police.

"Several people" have come forward so far, police spokesman John Elder said, but investigators want to hear from anyone else with information.

They can text a tip to 847411 – typing MPD and then the information. Alternatively they can call the tip line at 612-692-8477, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-8477.

Hate crimes in Minnesota

MinnPost last week wrote about instances of hate crimes in Minnesota and found that nearly 600 suspected bias-motivated crimes were reported to the FBI between 2010 and 2014.

Of those, 319 were motivated by race, 114 by sexual orientation, 77 by religion, 75 by ethnicity and four by disability.

Further figures found that between 2012-2014, black people were the most targeted for hate crimes on account of race or ethnicity, while Jewish people were the most targeted in terms of religion, with Muslims second.

But as the piece says, it doesn't give a full picture of hate crimes in Minnesota, given that the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that two out of three hate crimes go unreported.

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