After Islamic center bombing, a time to follow

The “money quote” in the aftermath of Saturday’s bombing of an Islamic center in Bloomington came from Yasir Abdalrahman, who has been worshipping there for two years.

“We came to this country for the same reason everyone else came here — freedom to worship,” Abdalrahman said. “And that freedom is under threat. Every other American should be insulted by this.”

Every other American isn’t, despite the show of solidarity from the leaders of other religious sects in the area. That’s what makes them leaders.

But in many cases, the followers aren’t that good at following. If they were, they’d be a lot better at the “unto others” part of this life.

Who knows who planted the IED in an imam’s office? Maybe it was the person in the pickup truck seen leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed. Maybe not.

But the anger directed to Muslim people at the mosque in Bloomington and elsewhere is undeniable. Even if this bombing turns out not to be a crime of hate, there have been plenty that have been and it’s going to take more than leading to stop the march toward sectarian violence. It’s going to take some following.

  • KTFoley

    Thanks for making this point, Bob.

  • MnTennis11502

    Can you please clean up your editing on this piece so people can better understand what point you are trying to make?

  • Anjasha Freed

    The perpetrator is unknown, his/her religion is unknown, his/her race is unknown and his/her motive is unknown.

    There will be plenty of time for breast-beating and virtue-signaling and America-shaming once the perpetrator is caught. In the meantime, let’s wait until we have real information.

    • KTFoley

      Take a peek at the comments in the Star Tribune articles: that’s some real information right there about Minnesotan’s willingness to follow the lead as Bob describes, and the beliefs that lead to treating others as “less than”.

      Unless the perpetrator arrived in Bloomington randomly by, say, falling out of a jet plane, the root of the problem existed before — and still exists during and after — the detonation on Saturday morning.

      It’s a game of Let’s Pretend to tell ourselves that a crime investigation will address that underlying disease. Once the perpetrator is caught, our time-tested habit is to tell ourselves that the problem has been solved, then go back to sleep until the next symptom arises.

      I’m as much a critic of empty posturing as the next person, but here’s the thing I’ve needed to recognize and perhaps it also applies your post this morning: we don’t get to dismiss the reaction as breast-beating or whatever unless we are simultaneously stepping up with our own proposals for concrete actions to deal with the root cause of what leads to an IED at a mosque, bomb threats at the Jewish Community Centers in both St. Paul and Minneapolis, or swastikas and hate terms spray-painted on a family home in Delano.

      • Anjasha Freed

        You’re right. Guilt has already been determined. It doesn’t make a difference who the perpetrator actually was or what his/her motivations were.

        This is about some imagined ideological thought crime on the part of some group of despicable white-het-cis Americans, not the real crime that was committed by one individual, so let’s stop pretending that you care about an IED going off at a mosque.

        That is why so many hoax crimes are committed in the name of Islamophobia. It is about creating an initial reaction of outrage and recrimination.

      • I checked this morning and they were closed. The Strib doesn’t usually allow comments on crime stories

        • KTFoley

          Correction appended in a comment.

      • KTFoley

        Correction: The source for the comments I read was KARE 11’s live stream of the FBI update, as shared to Facebook.

      • How about teaching comparative religions in high school? Ignorance fuels bigotry and fear of “the other”. Religion drives so many things in society, underpinning history and law. It seems crazy to not expose students to this topic treated as a broad subject that has the potential to further understanding.

        • Jay T. Berken

          I’m not a picture of diversity pertaining to friends, so take my comment at face value.

          I’ve been taking my 4 year old for the last 3 years on the bus and light rail to the downtown St. Paul library on Saturdays during the winter/spring for their Saturday Live! programs. I try to get her exposed to different show which the program shows the likes of Blue Grass music, puppet shows and magicians. But the other alternative is the bus ride to the library which she loves because she can sit up without a car seat. My thinking is that she is exposed to a wide variety of people that she would usually not interact with. She has had the most interesting conversations. I hope that she carries that all people are just people with different experiences and cultures, but in the end, just people.

          I love to read/study about other cultures, but my thoughts are you do not get to know a culture until you interact with it.

          • Learning by doing is always the most effective, but of course we do have to begin somewhere, and it would not be possible for most students to experience different cultures that way.

      • Anjasha Freed

        Well, what is it then? And what do you want to do about it?

        Why don’t you state three concrete solutions that can be enacted by the government or private citizens that can stop people you don’t know from committing crimes you can’t predict against mosques and synagogues. Or me, for that matter. Why should I have to fear crime when “you” as a member of society should be doing something to protect me from random strangers that neither of us has met?

        Or maybe the sort of person who did this is not a random stranger and you are sure you have met his sort. In which case, what sort of person did this? Maybe we can target the whole class of likeminded people for re-education, if you would just give us a psychological and political profile of the sort of people you want to target.

    • Rob


      • RBHolb

        Apparently, you don’t know how these stories work.

        When the victims of a crime like this are Muslim or, for that matter, anyone other than white-bread Christian Americans, we don’t know what the motive is. It’s always “too soon” to call it a hate crime. If/when the perpetrator is caught, he will be at worst a “deeply disturbed” individual. There will be some efforts to paint him as a leftist-sympathizer, but he is not a part of any conspiracy, or larger trend of hate crimes against this group.

        Compare and contrast what would certainly happen if the target were, say, an evangelical church (“What do Sean Penn, Jaime Foxx, Danny Glover, Michael Moore, Naomi Campbell, Oliver Stone, and Jesse Jackson all think about this? Why aren’t they condemning this as a hate crime?”).

      • Anjasha Freed

        What’s your question? WE as a SOCIETY have an underlying DISEASE because some anonymous crackpot threw a molotov cocktail into a mosque at 5 a.m. in Minnesota. Let’s own our shame, America. Do you have something against morally implicating 350 million people for this crime?

        • Every cell in the body may not have this cancer, but the cancer can kill the entire body if it isn’t treated.

  • jon

    “sectarian violence”

    Not a term you hear used often to describe events in the US… Take that american exceptionalism!