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Bomb Found in San Diego Mosque

January 12, 1991|From Associated Press

Islamic worshipers discovered a bomb in the bathroom of a mosque Friday, raising speculation that it was meant as a reprisal for the crisis in the Persian Gulf.

The homemade incendiary device was plugged into the wall of the bathroom at the Islamic Center of San Diego, in the 7000 block of Eckstrom Avenue, and was found by a custodian seeking the cause of a power outage, said Ron Orrantia, an FBI agent.

"Apparently the power outage may have been caused by the device itself," Orrantia said.

Muslims attending an evening prayer called police and FBI shortly after 5 p.m.

Orrantia declined to give details on the device and its power, saying it would have to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.

The mosque was also to be the site of a 7 p.m. lecture by a visiting scholar, said a UC San Diego student who declined to give his name.

But center spokesman Ezedin Ismail said the program, like all of the mosque's activities, was religious rather than political.

"We are for peace and do not propagate war," he said. "We're not even in favor of the regime (in Iraq.). . . . That shows that we're not for war."

Ismail said the mosque had received no threats before the incident.

"We are peaceful people," he said. "We will condemn any kind of terrorist action in the United States,"

The student said it is customary for Muslims to gather for prayer Friday evenings.

"We're afraid that it's some type of an act of hate linked to the gulf crisis," he said.

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