FBI questions Somalis in St. Cloud

The chances are pretty good that when you stopped in for your coffee this morning, you didn’t get approached by federal agents.

That’s not the case for people in St. Cloud, the St. Cloud Times reports today.

The newspaper says federal agents approached people at a strip mall which houses several Somali-American-owned businesses.

They’re trying to find out more about Dahir Adan, the man responsible for the attacks on 10 people at Crossroads Center.

Some are comfortable with the tactic. Some aren’t.

Hassan Salah, who works at a coffee shop and lounge called Sport Center, said he cooperated with the agents by answering the questions, but disagreed with their approach. He said by entering Somali-American-owned businesses and questioning patrons and workers it’s as though the agents are putting guilt on the whole community.

“There are a lot in the Somali community, almost 17,000 or 18,000,” Salah said. “Why are you asking everybody?”

“Ask friends, go to his school, go to his job, that’s good,” Salah said. “But asking everybody? That’s not fair.”

Abdi Mohamud, who was an acquaintance of Adan, spoke with agents, but had a different view.

Mohamud said he wanted to give any potential assistance to help reveal what happened Saturday night and what led to Adan’s actions. He said he felt labeling Adan as a terrorist when the motive of Saturday’s attacks has not been discovered is harmful to the Somali-American community of St. Cloud.

It’s only been a few days since the mall attacks. And people are already complaining that they don’t know more than they do.

  • John

    I gotta admit, I’m a little uncomfortable with blindfolded dart throwing as an investigative tactic. I’d like to think we could be a bit better directed than that.

  • Anna

    What is the difference between this and profiling them at the airport or on a plane?

    Abdi Mohammud is absolutely right. This is unfair to the Somali community. For all we know, Adan had a mental illness that went unrecognized and and there is no way to know now because unfortunately the suspect is dead.

    Someone, somewhere knows why he behaved as he did. ISIS is going to claim an attacker as one of their own whether they radicalized the attacker or not in order to promote and support their agenda of hatred and violence.

  • kat

    Do these investigators know that pressuring an entire community based on a solitary act leads to frustration, anger, and then possibly radicalization? What do they think they will learn stopping people on the street? Everyone knows what happened and knows where they can go with information.

  • MrE85

    I would guess the FBI also went to the Electrolux store in the mall, where Adan worked as a part-time security guard, as well as contacting the global security firm that hired him. I’m sure they have also interviewed former classmates of his at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. When there are so few answers, it is not surprising the agents have to cast a rather broad net for their initial inquires. In the end, it is likely pointless. In madness like this, we never know “why.”

    • kat

      You are right- but if the person who committed this act was white and reportedly Christian, would agents be stopping people at the local Caribou? I’m thinking no because it is so obviously pointless.

      • MrE85

        Since few answers seem to being coming to them, I think the FBI is following whatever leads they may have, however vague they may be. A related thought…how many Somali-Americans currently serve as FBI field agents, do you think?

  • Mike Worcester

    The sad part here is that even if no “terror” ties are found, that his act was simply the act of someone out for mayhem, there will always be that taint over the Somalil population in St. Cloud. It’s there now. A completed investigation that finds nothing will simply be viewed as not having been thorough enough to find what so many feel is obvious.

    In the meantime, the tensions grow, the isolation continues, and little community-building happens.