Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton accurately called the August 5, 2017 bombing of Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center, Minnesota’s largest mosque, an “act of terrorism.” However, Minnesota media did not use the term until after the governor used it in his press conference.
As Americans of color, we understand better and more quickly, that terrorists are acting with malice whether it’s lynchings, gunning down a prayer circle, bombing churches, synagogues or mosques, or killing innocent children.
All are enemies of the state to drive fear into the hearts of all Americans. It is a fear that recognizes no boundaries, no age limit. It is particularly hurtful when it reaches the hearts and minds of young people, be they children of Jesus Christ, Abraham, Allah, or Buddha, as well as the children of atheists and anarchists.
We see that malice and hate are alive and well all across America. As of the writing of this column, we are awaiting a statement from the President of the United States, denouncing this act of terror. Trump also waited for three days to respond when three White men in Portland, Oregon were wounded when they defended two Muslim teenage girls. Two of the men were fatally wounded. (See my June 3 column).
Such terrorists are architects of violence; their actions are intended to reinforce their religious and racial hatred and anger. It is clear that this act of terrorism and hatred against the Iman of the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center was done without warning based on that racial hatred and anger.
The explosive device, containing shrapnel and ball bearings, was designed to kill. The absence of a warning implies that the bomber or bombers did an excellent job of surveillance in retaliation against the Muslim community and their supporters for the loss of the life of an Australian native at the hands of a Muslim police officer.
Minnesotans should be proud of the quickness, compassion and efficiency of the many people of all faiths who stood together to denounce this cruel and violent act of terrorism. I know, as an American, that I felt proud of the quick responses by my fellow native Minnesotans, and I felt proud of our country.
The citizens of Minnesota have made it clear that such terrorist acts are not acceptable. When people retaliate in kind, they risk becoming what they hate. Instead, let us focus on making peace.
We are left with five questions:
- Why did Minnesota media wait until the governor said “terrorists” before they used the term?
- Why did the press hesitate to tell it like it was, regardless of who committed the terrorist attacks?
- Will we answer the governor’s call for solidarity and sympathy with the Al Farooq community, with determination to work together to prevent future terrorist acts, regardless of whether we are Muslims or non-Muslims, Blacks or non-Blacks?
- How will we resolve the four-hundred-year-old challenge to become American regardless of race, religion, or creed?
- When will we be ready to assimilate, integrate (learning, working, and living together), and yet encourage the individual autonomy of liberty and freedom to learn, work, and live together in community?
Going forward, will we divide into tribal lands and institutions, be they physical, political, or religious, and be what Lincoln called “a house divided,” or will we work out our differences peacefully, following Lincoln’s “malice toward none”?