Suspicious package at Orlando mosque investigated, deemed safe

Investigation closes roads, causes nearby residents to be evacuated

ORLANDO, Fla. – A scare at a local mosque brought out the bomb squad and closed roads during rush hour Tuesday.

Members of Masjid Al-Ihssan Mosque filed in for the day's final prayers just hours after the bomb scare.

Around 6 p.m., bomb techs moved in to inspect a black bag left stranded at the Islamic center. It was found during a time of worship. The mosque leader discovered the suspicious bag and called 911.

"We're very, very proud of this mosque for taking the necessary actions," said Rasha Mubarak, with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

CAIR recently held security training at the small house of worship. The seminars come at a time of heightened fear, just days after a man vandalized a Titusville mosque with a machete.

"Just over the weekend we heard about what happened in Titusville and since November, up until the first of January, there's been about 17 potential hate crimes reported across the country," said Mubarak.

This time the suspicious package was safe -- there was no danger -- but those heightened fears triggered a large and swift reaction by law enforcement. For nearly two hours, police closed busy Pershing Avenue from Goldenrod Road to Semoran Boulevard.

Area residents were also evacuated.

Police turned traffic around, pushed crowds back and back again even further.

The mosque Imam declined comment on the incident.