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OR Muslims plea for safety after bomb plot arrest; suspect due in court

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Muslim leaders in Oregon are asking authorities to step up protection following a fire at an Islamic center where a bombing plot suspect occasionally worshipped.

The fire broke out overnight Sunday in Corvallis, two days after 19-year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested for allegedly plotting to blow up a van of explosives during Portland's Christmas tree lighting ceremony last Friday.

Mohamud is set to appear in court this afternoon.

Authorities don't know who started Sunday's blaze or why, but they believe the center was targeted because Mohamud sometimes worshipped there. And a fire prevention officer in Corvallis says evidence at the scene has led authorities to believe it was set intentionally. The blaze was contained to the center's office.

Portland's mayor says he's beefed up police patrols around mosques and other facilities he says might be vulnerable to "knuckle-headed retribution."

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