Desperately Seeking Islamophobia

A week ago, there was a burglary at a Minneapolis mosque. CAIR immediately labeled the incident anti-Muslim, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported:

A burglary this week at a Minneapolis Islamic center prompted the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to issue a statement of concern Friday.

Jaylani Hussein, director of CAIR-MN, said surveillance video captured images of a man breaking into the Umatul Islam Center on Lake Street and 2nd Avenue S. between 11 p.m. and midnight Wednesday.

Yassin, a member of Umatul Islam’s Executive Board who did not want to be identified by his full name out of fear for his safety, described the damage.

The Star Tribune even tied the burglary to Donald Trump:

He said the break-in is the first major incident involving a mosque in the Twin Cities since comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump touched off a wave of anti-Muslim commentary and some incidents of harassment nationwide.

A day or two later, left-wing Governor Mark Dayton jumped on the bandwagon, assuming that the burglary was a hate crime:

Gov. Mark Dayton met with about two dozen Muslim community leaders and imams Sunday morning at the Umatul Islam Center in south Minneapolis and commiserated with them about a break-in and vandalism at the mosque last Wednesday.

“The act that was perpetrated here last week was a terrible, terrible act,” the governor said. “Vicious, illegal and cowardly. To sneak in the deep of night and desecrate a place of worship is so un-American and so un-Minnesotan … This is an assault against all Minnesotans to practice their faith as they choose.”

The governor held a press conference in the mosque, as shown in the photo below. The woman at the right wearing a head scarf is Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith:


Again, the Star Tribune tied the burglary to the Republican presidential campaign:

The incident comes at a time of high tension in the Muslim community, with some presidential candidates trading rhetoric about immigration and terrorism.

The Muslims who worship at the mosque have received nothing but support from other Minnesotans:

Osman said members of the mosque were “heartened by the outpouring of support” they have received from other faith groups and said local law enforcement has been “extremely helpful to us.”

Today it was reported that police have made an arrest in the case. The headline and sub-headline tell the story: “Alleged prolific burglar suspected in mosque break-in. Police doubt the suspect specifically targeted the mosque.” In other words: oops, never mind.

A man suspected of committing at least a dozen burglaries or attempted burglaries around south Minneapolis, including the break-in of a South Side mosque that got the attention of Gov. Mark Dayton, was arrested late Monday, police said. …

The man, who Third Precinct inspector Michael Sullivan described as “prolific burglary suspect,” is suspected in at least a dozen break-ins of businesses along E. Lake Street, between Second and Fourth avenues. The burglaries all occurred within the past few weeks, prompting police to increase patrols in the area, Sullivan said.

Sgt. Jarrod Kunze, the lead investigator in eight of the cases, said the suspect was well known to officers, having been named in more than 170 police reports.

More than 170 police reports? This guy is a walking crime wave. What do you have to do to get sent to jail in Minnesota?

He also dismissed the idea that the man specifically targeted the mosque, saying, “I don’t have any specific evidence that he targeted any specific group.”

Officials said the suspect had been on police’s radar from the get go and that a warrant had been issued for the man’s arrest.

So even as CAIR and Governor Dayton were attributing the burglary to anti-Muslim prejudice, and Star Tribune reporters were dragging in the Republican presidential race, police were well aware that the mosque break-in was just one of a dozen or more similar burglaries in a two-block area. It’s one more great moment in Islamophobia.