The Post drops into St. Cloud

The Washington Post’s Abigail Hauslohner and Drew Harrell profile St. Cloud slasher Dahir Adan. The profile derives from Hauslohner’s second trip to Minnesota this year; this past May she attended the first three days of the trial of Minnesota’s Somali terrorist wannabes in Minneapolis.

Hauslohner persevered through jury selection and opening statements and the opening of the government’s case during the first week of the terrorism trial. Then she headed home. Back at home, Hauslohner wrote an article that was almost laughable in light of the evidence she missed through her untimely departure from the trial.

The headline of her story accurately conveyed Hauslohner’s point of view portraying Minnesota’s Somali immigrants as victims of the crimes at issue: “Terror dragnet sweeps up Somali American’s sons: ‘Now everything is broken.'” One would never know from Hauslohner’s article the overwhelming evidence that led to the six guilty pleas and three convictions in the case.

Now Hauslohner and Harrell give us more of the same in their profile of Adan. In a sense Adan presents as a representative case. From their profile one can see that Adan was the beneficiary of generous educational and employment opportunities in St. Cloud. Taken into Minnesota from a Kenyan refugee camp, he had much for which to be grateful. Yet the profile seethes with the grievances and resentments of St. Cloud’s Somali community:

Community leaders say the ethnically diverse high school has one of the largest Somali student populations in the area. But bullies sometimes pick on the Somali students.

“There are incidents of discrimination. This is what drives some of this anger sometimes,” Yussuf said of the handful of Somali American men who have engaged in extremist violence. Some teens have reported being called “ISIS” or “terrorist,” he said.

There is more:

The sounds of residents’ conversations leaked through thin walls and into the building’s hallways on Monday, but no one wanted to talk about Adan or what happened.

“No one is talking right now,” one man said from his doorway.

“Do you have children?” asked another man, who was standing outside with a friend. “Then you don’t know what this is like for them.”

Some in Minnesota’s Somali community have long expressed suspicion of law enforcement and charge that Somali youth are stigmatized as terrorists and baited by FBI informants.

Earlier this year, a federal court in Minneapolis convicted three young Somali American men of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State. Six others indicted in the case took plea deals.

Adan’s few previous encounters with police had been minor traffic violations, police said.

Rumors swirled in St. Cloud’s Somali neighborhoods on Monday, as residents speculated over missing details, and wondered why police had not released video footage.

Abdi Nor Adan, a 27-year-old Somali American college student who was not related to Adan, said he had heard that Adan had used a nail file to carry out his attack. Another man suggested Adan had been provoked into a mall fight.

For some reason Hauslohner and Harrell don’t think to ask any of the native citizens who have welcomed and supported the Somali community in St. Cloud for their take.

Star Tribune reporter John Reinan provides a case study of one of the eight men and two women victimized in the course of Adan’s rampage. It provides a useful context in which to assess the grievances and resentments that Hauslohner and Harrell put on display in their limited tour of the local scene.


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