Ever since somewhere around September 11, 2001, the great American boogeyman has been Muslims. Thanks to politicians like Donald Trump, we are being encouraged to fear all things related to Islam. But as a recent incident proves, American Muslims may have much more to fear from some of the rest of us than we have to fear from them.
According to Minneapolis TV station KARE, two young Muslim men were shot early Wednesday morning by a drunken man with a handgun as they headed for Ramadan prayers at 2 a.m. During the holy month, many Muslims stay awake to participate in late night and early morning prayers. A group of five had been playing basketball before preparing to return to their mosque. They were getting into their car when they heard a person described as a “very drunk young man” make negative comments about Muslims.
When they spotted the man at the street corner, they asked him why he had made those comments. He denied doing so, saying that he had a lot of Muslim friends, and at that point they thought the issue had been settled. But another man, identified as a friend of the first, came up to the group and said, “‘What if I said fuck Muslims? What would you do if I said fuck Muslims?”
Hussein Gelle, one of the men who was shot, said they told the man that they felt the discussion had been settled. But the man pulled out a handgun and said “Well I am saying it! I am saying it, and there’s nothing you can do about it!” He then began shooting, striking Gelle and another man in the legs.
The attacker is described as a college aged white man of average build and dark hair. Police are asking anyone with information about the man or the incident to text them at “TIP411.”
Gelle, who was born in the U.S., and has lived here his entire life, says he couldn’t believe that something like this could happen here. Imam Hassan Jama, Executive Director of the Islamic Association of North America, said,
The whole family, their family, and the Muslim community and faith leaders – everyone is traumatized. We are actually in a state of shock.
Police are treating the incident as a hate crime. Jaylani Hussein, Director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said,
Unfortunately, with the rise of anti-Muslim sentiment in America, and especially with political rhetoric, our biggest fear of potential backlash [has occurred].[The victims] were targeted for being a Muslim. They did not antagonize. This was literally a clear profiling of them, harassing of them and shooting of them. This is a clear hate crime.
This type of hate is being fueled by right-wing media sources. Just one day after this attack, Fox News host Eric Bolling argued on Fox and Friends that there should be more profiling of Muslims. It appears that at least one Minnesota man, now wanted by police, would agree with him.
Here’s a report on the incident, via KARE:
Featured image via KARE screen capture