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Minnesota mosque bombing fails to spark response from Trump

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President Donald Trump still has not commented on the bombing of a Minnesota mosque two days later.

The Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center, located in Bloomington, is reeling after an explosion shattered windows around 5 a.m. on Saturday. While no one was hurt in the blast, more than a dozen people were in the building at the time, preparing for prayers at dawn. The FBI has said the attack was likely caused by an “improvised explosive device,” or IED, and the organization is currently working to determine whether the bombing was a hate crime. The center serves the area’s large Somali community, and, like many other mosques across the United States, has received several threatening calls and messages, but no actual violence until Saturday.

“We feel like it’s much deeper and scarier than like something random,” said Mohamed Omar, the center’s executive director. “It’s so scary.”

Authorities have cautioned that an investigation is still underway, and little is known about the attack at present. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is offering a $10,000 reward for any information, as is the Muslim American Society of Minnesota. Several state politicians have also labeled the explosion an extremist assault on Muslims.

“This is an act of terrorism,” said Governor Mark Dayton (D) at a news conference. “This is against the law in America.”

Rep. Keith Ellison (D), the first Muslim member of Congress, expressed similar views.

“What makes Minnesota unlike no other is how we accept and love members of our community, no matter the religion they practice, the language they speak, or where they come from,” Ellison said in a statement. “All are welcome. Those are Minnesota values. Today, those values were attacked when terrorists detonated a bomb at the Bloomington Islamic Center.”

While organizations and politicians are condemning the violence, Trump has remained notably silent, something not lost on social media users—especially after the president fired off several tweets Monday morning pertaining to other topics.

“In normal times, the bombing of a house of worship with an IED would not go unacknowledged by the president of the United States,” Mother Jones National Affairs Editor Mark Follman tweeted.

“Trump has tweeted 9 times this AM,” wrote MSNBC Producer Kyle Griffin. “Still no mention of the Minnesota mosque bombing or the 3 Marines missing off the Australian coast.”

Trump’s decision not to comment on the bombing is part of a larger trend. The president is usually quick to tweet about incidents of violence when Muslims are believed to be the perpetrators—with or without confirmation. Last December, he swiftly weighed in on attacks in Germany, Turkey, and Switzerland before investigations concluded, blaming extremists and honing in on Muslims. In 2015, he tweeted almost immediately about a brutal attack in Paris, and, a month later, about violence in San Bernardino, California. Shortly following another attack on London Bridge in June, Trump declared that the incident proved the need for his Muslim ban, which seeks to bar refugees and citizens from six Muslim-majority countries from the United States.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump tweeted. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

 

While Trump is quick to blame Muslims for violence, he’s slow to condemn attacks against the community. Since Trump’s election, violence towards minorities has spiked, with Muslims among those most targeted. But that’s done little to attract the president’s attention. Last spring, Trump initially failed to comment on a number of hate crimes targeting South Asians—including the murder of Indian citizen Srinivas Kuchibhotla, whose killer believed he was an Iranian Muslim. After a French-Canadian man killed six Muslim worshippers in a Quebec mosque, Trump also stayed silent, a pattern he repeated when a London man drove a van into a crowd of worshippers outside a mosque.

Other incidents, including the murders of two men defending two teenage girls against Islamophobia while on a train in Oregon, also initially escaped the president’s notice.

It’s unclear what impact that silence is having on minorities, but Saturday’s attack is being taken as further proof that Muslims are especially vulnerable in the current political climate. Organizations like CAIR are urging mosques and Islamic centers to increase security measures, citing the attack in Minnesota as cause for concern. Amir Malik, the civil rights director for CAIR’s local chapter, observed that the incident fits into a larger trend of contemporary anti-Muslim violence.

“If a bias motive is proven, this attack would represent another in a long list of hate incidents targeting Islamic institutions nationwide in recent months,” said Malik.

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