One thing you can count on after an act of terrorism: the blood won’t be dry before worries about a “backlash” take center stage. So it is with last night’s terrorist attack at a St. Cloud, Minnesota shopping mall. The Minneapolis Star Tribune headlines–rather bizarrely, under the circumstances–“Anti-Muslim tension isn’t new in St. Cloud.” The story begins [see Update below, story has now been completely rewritten]:
A cloud of anti-Muslim sentiment and tension has hung over St. Cloud for the past seven years, with incidents ranging from bullying Somali and other East African immigrants at St. Cloud Technical High School, to women being screamed at in grocery stores, pig intestines wrapped around the door handles of a halal grocery store, and offensive billboards and license plates.
The most physically injurious incident came Saturday evening when a man stabbed nine people at the city’s Crossroads Center before the attacker was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer.
What a transition! “The most physically injurious incident,” indeed. If you didn’t know better, you would have, at this point, the impression that someone had gone on an anti-Muslim rampage, part of the “cloud of anti-Muslim sentiment.”
The rest of the article is a recitation of anti-Muslim incidents in St. Cloud, going back to 2010. There is a point lurking here, but what is it? The terrorist’s actions were justified, or nearly so? Or, watch out for the backlash, here it comes? It’s hard to say.
Meanwhile, the Council on American-Islamic Relations made its priorities clear. No pretense of any concern for the innocent victims of the Somali terrorist. No suggestion that a little introspection might be in order for a Muslim community that has produced more terrorists and would-be terrorists than any other in the U.S. Nope: it’s all about the backlash.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director in Minnesota of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Sunday afternoon that “we are definitely concerned about the potential for backlash in the community, both in the immediate run and the longer term.”
There may be more grounds for worries about backlash soon. There are suggestions that the pressure cooker bombing in New York may have been Islamic terror:
A 911 caller warned of further explosions right after the blast that rocked Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and injured 29 people, The Post has learned.
“I’m looking at the explosion down the block. There will be more,” the unidentified male said, claiming to be standing at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue in the aftermath of the terrifying incident, according to law-enforcement sources Sunday.
In another new wrinkle, a hand-written letter, a portion of which is in Arabic, was found inside a plastic bag that held the second device, sources said.
Cops were interviewing two men who claim to have spotted a potential person of interest in the case, sources said.
The witnesses were dining at the Krush bar and grill on 32nd Street about a half-hour before the 8:30 p.m. Saturday explosion when they saw an Arab-looking man who was carrying a suitcase and appeared out of place, sources said.
Investigators have obtained surveillance video of a person placing the unexploded device, sources said.
Time will tell. Early reports are usually wrong, but the surveillance video should generate some hard information. There are other possibilities: on a Tumblr page, an anonymous person claiming to be a homosexual says he planted the New York bombs as an anti-Donald Trump protest. I highly doubt that this “confession” is legitimate, but once again, we should know more soon.
UPDATE: The Star Tribune story has been completely rewritten and has been given a new headline, most likely in response to this post. It now begins:
St. Cloud has dealt with tensions between Muslims and some non-Muslims for the past seven years, with incidents ranging from bullying Somali and other East African immigrants at St. Cloud Technical High School, to women being screamed at in grocery stores, pig intestines draped on the entry of a halal grocery store, and offensive billboards and license plates.
Whether those incidents held sway over a 22-year-old Somali man who stabbed nine people at the Crossroads Center on Saturday evening isn’t known and may never be known. The attacker was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer five minutes after the first 911 call was made. All of his victims survived.
Authorities said the man reportedly asked at last one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them and referred to Allah during the attacks. On Twitter, ISIL called the attacker “a soldier of the Islamic state.”
“The Minnesota Muslim community condemns all such acts of violence as inexcusable and un-Islamic,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Minnesota. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
Better late than never, I guess.