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  1. #161
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    Jan 2007


    Minnesota governor calls mosque bombing 'act of terrorism'

    BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton condemned Sunday the bombing of a suburban Minneapolis mosque as "an act of terrorism."

    He, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith and other elected officials toured the site and met with local leaders of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington Sunday morning.

    Early Saturday, an explosive device shattered windows and damaged an office at the mosque, which primarily serves people from the area's large Somali community.

    "What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly terrible act this was that was committed yesterday," Dayton said. "As someone said in the meeting, if the roles were reversed, it would be called a terrorist attack. And that's what it is, an act of terrorism."

    Smith agreed.

    "That action is despicable and hateful, but it does not represent who Minnesota is," Smith said. "It does not represent the vast majority of the people who live in this fantastic state."

    State representatives Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, and Andrew Carlson, R-Bloomington as well as Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota.

    The FBI is seeking suspects and trying to determine whether the incident Saturday was a hate crime.

    "Anything I could do to put a stop to it, I would gladly do," Dayton said. "Because in Minnesota, we accept one another, we support one another, we respect one another. ... We're not going to let one bad person get in the way of all that."

    Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, said six Muslim groups have combined their resources to offer at $24,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator.

    Mohamed Omar, the center’s executive director, estimates the mosque holds up to 300 worshippers for Friday prayers. The mosque opened at the site of a former elementary school in the suburb of about 85,000 and serves people primarily from the area's large Somali community. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S., roughly 57,000 people, according to the latest census figures.

    Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead noted the Islamic center has been in the city for six years.

    "It has grown to be an important part of our community going forward," Winstead said. "And we're happy to have them here. That said, when there's an attack on part of our community, it's an attack on our entire community."

    Police say there were no injuries, but the explosion damaged the imam's office.

    Investigators have recovered components of the device to figure how it was put together.

    Muslim groups are noting an uptick in anti-Muslim incidents across the country. There have been reports of arson attacks and vandalism at mosques, harassment of women wearing Muslim head coverings and bullying of Muslim schoolchildren. Just recently in Minnesota, an Islamic cemetery in Castle Rock Township reported it had been vandalized with spray painted profanities and swastikas.

    The national office of the Council on American-Islamic relations, or CAIR, recently released a report showing a 57 percent increase in anti-Muslim incidents in 2016 over the previous year. The Washington-based Muslim civil rights organization also noted the spike in anti-Muslim incidents was accompanied by a 44 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes during the same period.

    CAIR and the Muslim American Society of Minnesota documented anti-Muslim Facebook posts responding to news of the bombing, including calls for more violence. Ellison said the uptick in hate preceded the election of President Donald Trump, but Trump has not helped the situation.

    "I could tell you that other (presidents), including President Bush, have spoken up for tolerance," Ellison said. "We're hoping for a word from President Trump to say that we want a tolerant community and we will condemn all hate crimes by anyone, including against the Muslim community."
    However, Ellison said, he's heartened by the local response since the bombing.

    "There is no better way to condemn the person who would throw the bomb into this mosque, this house of worship, than to react in a loving, kind and inclusive way," he said.

    Leaders at Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center have setup a a Gofundme page to raise money to repair damage from the bombing. It is available at gofundme.com/support-dar-al-farooq-center. The page has raised more than $19,000 from more than 400 people in just under a day, as of Sunday afternoon.


  2. #162
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    Jan 2007


    Anit-Muslim hate crimes spiked 91% within first half of 2017, new report says

    On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a new report detailing a 91% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes within the first six months of 2017 compared to the same time period in 2016.

    According to the civil rights group, 2016 was the worst year recorded for anti-Muslim hate crimes since it began documenting incidents in 2013. The new report also found that anti-Muslim bias incidents rose 24% compared to that same time period in 2016.

    There were a total of 946 reported bias incidents between April 1 and June 30.
    Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

    From the second quarter of 2017, which is from April 1 to June 30, there were 946 reported bias incidents. Out of those 946 reported incidents, CAIR staff identified that “451 of these reports contained an identifiable element of anti-Muslim bias.”

    The most common type of abuse reported is harassment.
    Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

    In the second quarter of the year, the most frequent type of incidents reported was harassment. Harassment accounts for 16% of the total 451 reported bias incidents. Hate crimes followed with 15%, then incidents where the FBI inappropriately targeted complainants of incidents with 12%. The last two common types of abuse and incidents were acts of intimidation and cases involving the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which accounted for 12% and 8%, respectively, of cases reported in the second quarter of 2017.

    A victim’s ethnicity or national origin was the most common listed trigger.
    Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

    The study also said there were 358 cases where a trigger, or the provoking factor, was identified. A victim’s ethnicity or national origin accounted for 32% of the cases. Incidents where a victim is perceived as Muslim accounted for 20%, and 15% described a Muslim woman’s headscarf as a trigger.

    People of Middle Eastern and North African descent made up most of the victims of all reported incidents where a victim’s ethnicity or national origin was identified.
    Source: Council on American-Islamic Relations

    The study found 290 cases where a victim’s ethnicity or national origin were identified. People of North African and Middle Eastern descent made up the majority of the victims and accounted for 46% of the reported cases. South Asians followed with 20% of the cases.

    Zainab Arain, the coordinator for CAIR’s Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia, said that President Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies has resulted in the targeting of the Muslim-American community.

    “The presidential election campaign and the Trump administration have tapped into a seam of bigotry and hate that has resulted in the targeting of American Muslims and other minority groups,” Arain said in a statement to Mic. “If acts of bias impacting the American Muslim community continue as they have been, 2017 could be one of the worst years ever for such incidents.”

    The most recent reported anti-Muslim hate crime in the U.S. took place on July 10. The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro in Tennessee found bacon strips wrapped around the door, and anti-Muslim epithets spray-painted on their walls and basketball court.

    The police are investigating the incident as a hate crime. In the years leading up to the mosque’s construction, the Murfreesboro Muslim community endured acts of vandalism, arson and a bomb threat.

    “We’re not (strangers) to vandalism. ... We have been going through intimidation, harassment, arson, lawsuit, bomb threats, heard gunshots,” Saleh Sbenaty, ICM spokesman, told the Daily News Journal.

    The latest incident occurred within the center’s summer camp for kids. Sbenaty said he is having a hard time explaining the attack to the children.

    “It’s very hurtful,” Sbenaty said. “You cannot answer the questions to the kids who are asking, ‘Why do they hate us, what did we do to deserve this?’”


  3. #163
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    Jan 2007


    Muslim family in Kansas arrested after trying to deposit cheque from property sale

    An entire Muslim family were arrested in Kansas after the father attempted to deposit a large cheque from the sale of the family house at a bank.

    Sattar Ali, originally from Iraq, tried depositing a cheque of $151,000 (£114,000) into his account at Emprise Bank in Wichita after selling their property in Dearborn, Michigan.

    He informed the bank that he wanted to deposit the cheque so that he could buy a new house.

    Mr Ali told local news station KAKE: “I went to the bank to deposit the check and I took all of the documents with me to verify.”

    But a few minutes after he presented the bank with the cheque, he was handcuffed.

    He said: “I was talking to them for less than five minutes and I found the police behind me, handcuffed me, confiscated everything and took me outside.”

    Mr Ali’s wife, Hadil, and their 15-year-old daughter, Hawra, who were waiting in the car outside the bank were also arrested, and were detained for three hours at the police station.

    Police also ordered his 11-year-old son’s school to hold him because the family was in custody.

    “No one told me why I was being arrested until we were being released,” Ali told The Sunflower. “They didn’t read me rights or anything.”

    “We were devastated. Terrified. Crying the whole time,” Ali said. “We had no idea what the arrest was for.”

    Ali told The Sunflower that he believes he and his family were racially profiled because the large cheque came from someone with a Muslim name and not someone named “James or Robert.”

    “Let’s assume I made a mistake and gave them a bad cheque,” Ali said. “Why would they arrest my wife and daughter?”

    In a statement, Wichita police said that they were called to the bank for an attempted forgery.

    “Police officers on scene made attempts to verify the legitimacy of the cheque, and were unable to do so,” read the statement.

    Mr Ali said they lived in Wichita for many years before moving to Dearborn. He now believes that he was racially profiled and criticised Wichita for their actions against him and his family.

    The bank released a statement saying that it “can confirm that our team acted in accordance with our policies and procedures. If faced with the same circumstances today, we would expect our team to take the same actions”.



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