Calls To Monitor Muslims Bring Sharp Rebukes In Minnesota

Image: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Image: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota, 19 Jumadil Akhir 1437/24 March 2016 (MINA) – Senior law enforcement officials, as well as politicians and Muslim leaders from Minnesota on Wednesday condemned suggestions by Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump that the United States should crack down on Muslim communities in the aftermath of this week’s bombings in Brussels.

Their objections ranged from practical to constitutional to concern that the rancor would further stigmatize an entire community, International Islamic News Agency (IINA) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“It absolutely sabotages and destroys our efforts to fight radicalism,” said Abdirizak Bihi, a Somali community leader who has led local efforts to mute extremism. “It breeds more fear and more of the isolation that we’ve been trying to fight.”

Meanwhile, top federal and local law enforcement officials have planned a meeting on Thursday to discuss the recent terror attacks with local Imams and other Muslim leaders. The state’s top federal prosecutor, the Hennepin County sheriff and the senior local FBI agent are among those expected to attend.

“We will not allow fear or hatred to bring harm to those who may appear to be targets of convenience at this difficult time,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a statement.

In broadcast interviews on Wednesday, Cruz doubled down on earlier comments that authorities should be able to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized” a revival of a controversial post-9/11 program since shuttered by the New York Police Department.

GOP front-runner Trump has also called for harsher interrogation techniques and a ban on refugees from countries where ISIS has a presence. Pressed on his remarks Wednesday, Cruz told a CBS reporter that Minnesota’s Muslim community was an example of where law enforcement efforts could be concentrated.

The remarks drew a stern response from Minnesota, home to the country’s largest Somali-American community.

Jaylani Hussein, director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said targeting Muslim communities would undermine safety by wasting law enforcement resources. “We know that’s not where the threat is coming from,” Hussein said. “It’s coming from individuals and extremists from all communities.”

Mohammed Farah, director of the nonprofit Ka Joog, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the remarks. Earlier Wednesday Ka Joog issued a statement condemning both the Brussels attacks and “the bigotry of the Republican presidential candidates.”

“This is a time to cultivate relationships because the American Muslim community is already facing a lot of things,” Farah said. “They’re first to condemn such acts. Their religion is being hijacked.”

Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame said Cruz sounded like a politician trying to “out-Trump Trump.” Most Minnesota Muslims, he pointed out, hold jobs and mainstream views, and some have served or died serving in the U.S. military.

“It’s a modern-day racism,” he said. “You’re attacking a faith, a world faith of more than 1.6 billion people.” (T/P006/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)