Minneapolis, Somali, 6 Jumadil Awwal 1436/25 February 2015 (MINA) – Rejecting the group as non-representative of Muslims, leaders of Minnesota Somali-American and Muslim communities have condemned Al-Shabaab threats, following the release of a video by the militant group threatening the Mall of America.
“The safety and security of Minnesotans and of all Americans is of utmost importance to Somali-Americans,” leaders of the Minnesota Somali-Muslim community said, On Islam quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“We condemn all forms of terrorism or threats of terrorism, repudiate any individual or group that would carry out such attacks or make such threats and remain committed to being at the forefront of defeating religious or political extremism,” they added in the statement released on Monday, February 23.
The statement followed the release of a 75-minute video by Somali militant group Al-Shabaab which called for attacks on western malls.
Naming a number of malls, the group specifically named the Mall of America in Bloomington while claiming responsibility for a deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 60 people.
Following the release of the video, leaders of American Muslim and Somali communities met with local imam to reject the threat. “While remaining vigilant, we must not allow a terror group to achieve its goal of spreading fear or panic,” they said in the statement released by CAIR-MN branch.
“We must also prevent justifiable security concerns from being used as a pretext to promote hatred, prejudice and suspicion of the whole community.
“As a nation, we are better prepared and more united when we all work together to keep our communities safe.”
Minnesota is home to the largest number of Somali immigrants in the United States. A few days ago, US government issued a decision to prevent US banks handling money transfers to Somalia.
According to US government, the move was claimed to prevent funding of terrorist groups operating in east Africa. Yet, it was met by condemnations from development experts for cutting off an estimated $215m in annual remittances to Somali families from their relatives in the US.
Muslim leaders confirmed that Al-Shabaab threats have nothing to do with Islam. “In this time we don’t want these terror groups to win by having our community be fearful or panic at this time,” Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of Minnesota branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), told Voice of America.
“It’s important our communities comes together and recognize that organizations don’t represent any faith or group.”
Mohamud Noor, Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota Executive Director, said he goes regularly to mall of America with his family, encouraging families to be vigilant but not live in fear.
Noor said his community is resilient and will continue to focus on growing stronger while uniting against political extremism. “Al-Shaabab does not represent us. They are trying to create fear and divide the community so they have the upper hand,” said Noor.
“The safety for the Mall of America is the safety for all of us. I take my kids there, we go there shopping, they enjoy having the rights there. So I am not going to stop doing that because al-Shabaab says so. I will go to Mall of America so I urge everybody else not to cave in to the fear mongering tactics of al-Shaabab.”
Hussein and Noor said their communities are supportive of all law enforcement efforts. “But at the same time we don’t want this type of surveillance to be a pretext for prejudice and hate and let this incident be something that divides us instead of brings us closer together,” said Hussein
Muslim and Somali leaders noted that Al-Shabaab threats to America added more troubles to youth in their communities, adding that they are the first victim of the group. “The large part of the Somali community here felt like they are victims of this organization,” added Noor.
“In this time we don’t want these terror groups to win by having our community be fearful or panic at this time, it’s important our communities comes together and recognize that organizations don’t represent any faith or group.” (T/P011/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)