Let us imagine if we woke up one fine Sunday morning to hear the news of a bombing at a Minnesota church full of white blond-haired parishioners preparing to begin their morning prayers.
If that hypothetical scenario did occur, do you think that Donald Trump’s Twitter feed or any media outlet would waste any time in calling that fictitious bombing an act of “terrorism”?
Of course not.
In real life, we recently witnessed a bombing at an Islamic mosque in Minnesota which has not garnered even one single statement from Donald Trump.
Not even one single bloody tweet.
According to law enforcement officials, there was bomb explosion around 5 am at the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, which is a suburb of Minneapolis. Fire and smoke engulfed much of the red-brick structure, but luckily there were no injuries in this mosque bombing.
The FBI is now officially leading the ongoing investigation and authorities said they believe an improvised explosive device — also known as an IED — was to blame for the blast at the mosque, which primarily serves the area’s large black Somali Muslim community.
“It’s sad and just an inhumane act,” the mosque’s executive director Mohamed Omar recently told the Los Angeles Times. “There is too much anger out here.”
Although Donald Trump has been silent on the mosque bombing, other politicians like Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton rightfully condemned this attack on a Muslim house of worship as an act of “terrorism”.
“What a terrible, dastardly, cowardly terrible act this was that was committed yesterday,” Governor Dayton said during a press conference with mosque members. “If the roles were reversed [meaning if a white church was bombed], it would be called a terrorist attack. And that’s what [this mosque bombing] is…An act of terrorism.”
Speaking to Donald Trump’s deafening silence on the mosque bombing, Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) told USA Today that, “I could tell you that other (presidents)- including President Bush- have spoken up for tolerance [towards American Muslims in the past].” He further stated that, “We’re hoping for a word from President Trump to say that we want a tolerant community and we will condemn all hate crimes by anyone, including against the Muslim community.”
Don’t hold your breath, Keith.
Nobody should be fooled into thinking that these violent acts of Islamophobia are isolated incidents either. In fact, Professor Brian Levin from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism recently wrote that “hate crimes against Muslims have been on the rise” in the last few years alone. He rightfully notes the recent high-profile murder of two brave samaritans on a Portland city bus who were trying to help two young women who were facing a barrage of anti-Muslim slurs by a violent white supremacist. Earlier in 2017, there was a mosque in Victoria, Texas which was burned to the ground by an alleged anti-Muslim bigot and just last year, there were members of a right-wing extremist group calling themselves “The Crusaders” who plotted a bombing “bloodbath” at a residential housing complex for Somali Muslim immigrants in Garden City, Kansas.
Furthermore, we should acknowledge that Islamophobia is not exclusively an American phenomenon either. Just across the pond in England, a 39-year-old man named David Moffatt was recently sentenced by a court for threatening to blow up an Islamic bookshop in London and “kill all the Muslims”.
When police officers confronted him over the allegations, he bizarrely replied: “I’m not anti-Muslim…I’m Catholic!”
Earlier this year, there were 6 innocent Canadian Muslims were gunned down together in an act of mass murder by a white supremacist named Alexandre Bissonette while praying at a mosque in Quebec City. Instead of condemning this act of terrorism against Muslims (which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau immediately did), the White House and Fox News both quickly ran with the stories that the suspected attacker was Moroccan instead of a racist white guy. Needless to say, Donald Trump has neither tweeted nor made any public remarks about the white nationalist (and Trump fan) who has been charged in this case of mass murder.
Donald Trump’s deafening silence on this Minnesota mosque bombing is nothing surprising. His childish rhetoric, destructive policies and charlatan advisers continue to marginalize minorities within his dystopian alt-right vision of America. Moving forward together as a nation of diverse backgrounds, our better angels must prevail and we must show Donald Trump that an attack on any house of worship is an attack on all houses of worship; including those that have Muslim people praying inside of them.
Arsalan Iftikhar is founder of TheMuslimGuy.com and a senior research fellow for The Bridge Initiative at Georgetown University.