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Vol. 81/No. 31      August 21, 2017


Workers, religious figures hit bomb attack on
Minn. mosque

MINNEAPOLIS — An explosion rocked the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center just after 5 a.m. Aug. 5. What authorities now say was an “improvised explosive device” was hurled through the mosque’s window into the imam’s office, blowing up and spreading smoke throughout the building. The explosion ripped large holes in the walls, ceiling and the imam’s work desk.

More than a dozen people were gathered in a room nearby for morning prayers. Luckily, none were harmed. Mohamed Omar, the center’s executive director, said one person in the mosque saw a pickup truck speed away after the bomb went off.

The mosque primarily serves people from the Minneapolis area’s large Somali community. “We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here: freedom to worship,” Yasir Abdalrahman, a worshipper at the mosque, told the press. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”

Many people in the neighborhood and across the region came to the mosque to express their opposition to the attack and show solidarity.

In the past some anti-Muslim forces, like John Guandolo, a former FBI agent who founded a group called Understanding the Threat, have charged the mosque with inculcating worshippers with Islamist terrorist views.

“I think the bombing is shameful!” That response by one retired worker was the common attitude of most workers Socialist Workers Party campaigners talked to when they went door to door in the neighborhood around the center the day after the bombing.

SWP candidate for mayor of Minneapolis David Rosenfeld and three supporters visited the center Aug. 6 to show their solidarity. Rosenfeld spoke with Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota.

The bombing is part of “efforts to keep us divided. If the rulers can convince one group that other workers are their problem, it will prevent us from seeing our common interest,” Rosenfeld said. “We have to take action, and not think it is OK to just say it’s terrible.”

Zaman said the center is planning a community meeting Aug. 8. “We want to change the narrative that Muslims are terrorists,” he said. “We want people to know that this was an act of terrorism.”

“We will be talking to workers throughout the Twin Cities and showing them our campaign statement that says an injury to one is an injury to all. And we will encourage them to participate,” Rosenfeld said.

The SWP candidate was given a tour of the imam’s office. Light fixtures dangled from the ceiling and burn marks were visible on the carpet.

Mohamed Omar said the center, which opened in 2011, has received threatening phone calls in the past, but has good relations with most people in the area. That was reflected in the number of neighbors who came to visit.

“An attack on a mosque is an attack on a synagogue … is an attack on all faith communities,” Rev. Curtiss De-Young, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, said at an interfaith news conference at the mosque. “So we stand with you.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas extended “solidarity with the local Muslim community,” Steve Hunegs, the council’s executive director, told the press.

Among those who visited the center to show support were Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Related articles:
SWP: ‘Attack on mosque is attack on all workers!’
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