Can St. Cloud and the Twin Cities heal?
Hostility and uneasiness between Muslims and the Christian population of St. Cloud, Minnesota, are well known and documented. In fact, Ethiopian students at St. Cloud State University were the first to bring attention to the problems of religion and race in St. Cloud. As its Somali community grew, tensions increased dangerously, leading to a young Somali citizen committing a terrorist attack at a mall in St. Cloud, September 17, 2016.
Security experts should have seen this coming given the pitched battles on September 11, 2016 at an outdoor concert at 5th and Cedar, and given the violent confrontations between Somali youth and security forces at the Mall of America on Sept 12. Clearly these were practice runs. The violence on September 17th should have been anticipated.
As the Somali man stabbed 10 people, he shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) until he was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer, raising questions: Was this Somali youth a radicalized Muslim? Was he among those demanding judgment by Sharia law, not American common law?
Law enforcement officials in New Jersey, New York and Minnesota are asking if the terrorist incidents in these three states on this same date, September 17, 2016, were connected. Does this portend more such incidents? We have written before of plans to have “round-ups” of young Blacks. Will this plan now be applied to young Somalis?
History: after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the executive order in 1942 that created internment camps, officially called “relocation centers” for Japanese in this country, despite three quarters being born here. One of the key individuals who carried out that executive order was California U.S. Attorney General Earl Warren, who was later governor of California and future Supreme Court Chief Justice.
This “relocation,” so far, is the first and only episode in American history in which the United States government forcibly interned American citizens on the basis of their racial and ethnic affiliation. That still leaves the question of what should be done with groups who want their own legal system?
In his memoirs, Warren regretted the roundups for relocation, as it was “not in keeping with our American concept of freedom and the rights of citizens.” He said that it was wrong “to react so impulsively, without positive evidence of disloyalty…” He learned a lesson about racial harmony, equality, and civil liberties that led him later to strike down the “separate but equal” clause in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education case.
The confrontations on September 11 and 12, 2016, had no news coverage in Minnesota. Other than my radio broadcast of September 14, 2016, there was no detailed report whatsoever of the confrontation involving Somalis and the MPD, nor with Bloomington police and other security forces on the 12th of September.
Considering the long-running hostility between Muslims and Christian Whites in St. Cloud, is retaliation not far behind? Do the leaders of these cities have the leadership skills to help repair the damage? There are calls for serious restrictions against the Muslim population.
Because the fourth estate chose to suppress the events of September 11 and 12, the opportunity for meaningful discussion and reconciliation has been lost. Will the winner of the presidency be tempted to sign such an executive order for such demonstrations?
Will whoever wins the presidency order such draconian Marshall law measures? Rest assured that even as this column is being written, discussions about these types of draconian internment are taking place.
Will Minnesota heal in time? Only time will tell. There is not much time left.