What Minnesotans Wish The Media Had Said About The Mosque Bombing

"You don’t have to know the motive to say it's wrong for a house of worship to be bombed."

Before Amir Malik arrived on the scene of the mosque bombing in Bloomington, Minnesota, there were already two faith leaders there: a rabbi and a church leader.

In the street, groups of supporters and protesters were walking around with signs that said "I love my neighbor" and "All are welcome here." Malik, the civil rights director at the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was pleasantly surprised.

"The majority of people outside the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center when I arrived on Saturday were not Muslims," he told A Plus. "That was nice and it kind of shows that while the bigots make a lot of noise, they are definitely a minority."

Earlier that day, what investigators are now describing as a pipe bomb exploded in the Islamic center. Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the bombing, but the event sent shockwaves through the community. In the following days, the Muslim community witnessed an outpouring of support. Local politicians like Rep. Keith Ellison and Sen. Al Franken showed up in solidarity. The mayor of Bloomington, the governor of Minnesota and the Bloomington city manager all turned out. 



But from the White House and the national media, there was relative silence. Malik said people were most unhappy with the silence from President Donald Trump, who, despite having a flurry of tweets and public comments this week said nothing about the bombing. Malik, for his part, said he was giving the White House the benefit of the doubt.

That was until Sebastian Gorka, the deputy assistant to President Trump, suggested on television that the administration was staying quiet because the attack may have been a false flag operation. 

"There's a great rule: All initial reports are false,″ Gorka said on MSNBC. "You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. We've had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes, by right-wing individuals in the last six months, that turned out to actually have been propagated by the left.

Malik said he understood why Gorka would say that "nonsense," remembering that the administration was also silent when an attacker in Portland who killed two people was identified as a Trump supporter. Still, he wished the White House had taken an approach more like CAIR's.

"CAIR is not calling it a terrorist attack or hate crime because we don't know the motive," Malik said. "But you don't have to know the motive to say it's wrong for a house of worship to be bombed. I just think what would have been better is if you can come condemn something without saying it's a terrorist attack or a hate crime… Definitely sending out Gorka to speak his normal white supremacist nonsense, that wasn't helpful and that definitely made it worse."

More than anything, though, Malik just wishes the national media would cover the solidarity that's happening in Minnesota as a result of the attack. Hundreds showed up to an event in Bloomington to show their support, where Sen. Franken told a crowd that "what happened Saturday morning was an attack on all of us."

"I wish they covered that," Malik said. "There was also a cemetery that was vandalized and interfaith leaders were coming together to deal with that... the same people that are doing these things, if they weren't hating Muslims they'd just be hating Jews and hating blacks and hating anyone that wasn't like them."

Malik said the latest from the FBI was that they had been interviewing witnesses but weren't sharing any of their leads. They were looking at a security camera from the city, but since the mosque didn't have any security cameras it was a little more difficult. During an interfaith meeting on Thursday, Jewish groups also offered to connect leaders from the Muslim community with security consultants they had used to help protect their synagogues.

This kind of interfaith cooperation, Malik said, was natural. 

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