Posted September 01, 2018 12:03:38When a small-scale mosque bombing targeted the Somali community of Twin Falls in Minnesota, people in the community reacted in ways you wouldn’t expect.
The attacks targeted the mosque, killing three people, injuring dozens more and raising fears about the threat of radical Islamism.
“We are in a time where there are very strong messages of hate, especially with the events that have taken place recently in the U.S.,” said Imam Nader Abdullah, who was at the mosque when the bomb went off.
“It’s not only about a few individuals or individuals, but also the broader society that is feeling threatened.”
At the time of the attacks, Abdullah and his brother Yusuf Abdullah had already opened a mosque in Minneapolis.
“Our first meeting was about five years ago,” he said.
“We were told to leave it alone and move on, because the people who have been there and supported us, and who we respect, are now going to take over.”
“We have to protect ourselves, but it’s not just about protecting ourselves,” he added.
“It’s about the community and the families and the people that are here.”
The first attack took place in October 2014, when an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighter in a black mask fired a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) at the Twin Falls mosque, causing a massive explosion.
The second attack occurred in January 2015, when a white supremacist, identified as Omar Mateen, fatally shot 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
In both cases, it’s believed the attackers were inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS).
The third attack took the lives of US Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, and two other women.
“When you hear about a hate crime and it is an act of terrorism, there is a reason for that,” Abdullah said.
He said the attack was not random.
“There was a pattern to it.
They were planning to do this for a long time,” he explained.
“The only reason why they did it now is because of the government.”
The Twin Falls incident led to a national conversation about the need to prevent hate crimes, and the threat from radical Islam.
In a letter to the president, the Muslim Council of Greater Minneapolis (MCGM) urged the federal government to “support the law enforcement agencies, civil rights groups and communities who work tirelessly to ensure hate crimes are not committed.”
“While the majority of hate crimes have nothing to do with the Islamic faith, they are a clear reminder that the world’s religions are diverse, vulnerable and can be targeted,” the MCGM wrote.
It said that “Islamophobia is alive and well and continues to be a concern across the nation, even in areas of the world that are generally considered safe.”
“The MCGM also urges that the federal, state and local governments work together to address the rise of hate in the wake of the tragic events in Minnesota,” the letter continued.
The federal government’s CVE efforts have been under heavy scrutiny for several years.
The FBI is in the process of launching a comprehensive investigation of the attack, which began with a tip from the local sheriff’s office.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are also investigating the mosque bombing.
The attack, the first of its kind in the Twin Cities, occurred as a small community of Somali-Americans gathered for the first-ever “Unite The Right” rally in downtown Twin Falls.
“They are so proud of their community, and they are proud to be Muslim,” said Imam Abdullah.
“They are proud of the fact that there is an organization like MCGM that has a history of helping these communities and they support the fight against radical Islam.”
The MCGM is not the only group that has expressed concern about the threats from radical Islamic extremism.
A number of prominent US mosques have also taken steps to close down or limit their services, and many congregations have begun to follow the lead of the MCGMA in cancelling services and canceling events.
A federal task force on domestic terrorism convened by President Donald Trump has also launched a series of investigations into the attacks.
It’s expected to be completed this month.