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Community leaders decry bombing of mosque complex in Cincinnati

Associated Press Writer

CINCINNATI- The mayor, the Roman Catholic archbishop and a rabbi were among the religious and civic leaders who stood together Wednesday to denounce the bombing of an Islamic center.

Two explosive devices inflicted minor damage to the entrances of adjoining mosques Tuesday night, about two hours after prayers had ended. No one was injured.

"We're all here in solidarity to speak out against this despicable act," Mayor Mark Mallory said. "From a community standpoint, we need to make it clear that this type of criminal activity will not be tolerated."

Stan Borgia, agent in charge of the FBI's Cincinnati office, said investigators had not finished analyzing debris from the scene. He declined to describe the bombs or their level of sophistication.

Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk called the assault "wrong, hate-filled and evil." Rabbi Abie Ingber, representing the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, said it was "a deplorable, hateful act."

Karen Dabdoub, spokeswoman for the Ohio office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said attacks like Tuesday's have plagued mosques since the Sept. 11 terror attacks by Muslim extremists.

"This kind of crime is an act of hate that is intended to divide our community along religious lines," Dabdoub said.

She said the 25,000-strong Islamic community of the Cincinnati area has enjoyed good community relations and there had been no recent threats or incidents.

"This is totally out of the blue. It's very disturbing," she said.

Doorways at both mosques were damaged. The older building, a two-story brick house, is used for daily prayers; a worship center that opened two years ago is used for large gatherings of 300-400 families.


Associated Press Writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

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