On Saturday around 5 a.m., a bomb was thrown into Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center as people were preparing for morning prayers. While there was extensive property damage, no one was injured in the attack.
Donald Trump has not condemned the attack and now one of his advisors is suggesting the incident might be a “fake hate crime.”
On Tuesday, Trump advisor Sebastion Gorka addressed said on MSNBC that the White House wouldn’t comment until they find out who perpetrators are.
“We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes, by right wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to actually have been propagated by the left,” he said. “So let’s wait and see and allow local authorities to provide their assessment. And then the White House will make its comments.”
He also suggested that the crime might not be a terrorist attack because of previous instances of “fake hate crimes.”
“The question of who does it is a question. When you’ve had people, fake hate crimes in the last six months with some regularity I think it’s wise, don’t you, to find out what exactly is going on before you make statements when in fact they could turn out to be not who you are expecting.”
“You know, there’s a great rule, all initial reports are false, you have to check them and you have to find out who the perpetrators are.”
Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton visited the mosque on Sunday and called the bombing a “wretched” terrorist act.
Islamic leaders in Minnesota and nationwide have said they’re waiting for the president to say something similar.
Democratic National Committee deputy chairman and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison also called on Trump to condemn Gorka’s comments.
He also called it an “outrage” that Trump hasn’t condemned the attack.
“The President’s failure to condemn the terrorist attack on the Bloomington Islamic Center is an outrage. It suggests that his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, including the right to equal protection under the law, only extends to people who meet certain racial and religious criteria,” Ellison said.
Local Muslim leaders are speaking out against Gorka’s comments as well.
“I find this comment outrageous and offensive. Waiting for an investigation to be complete has not been something Trump has done when the perpetrators have been Muslim. This hypocrisy must be called out,” Asad Zaman, director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, told BuzzFeed News.
The president has a history of tweeting responses to attacks worldwide – with certain exceptions.
After an attack in Paris this past March, when the attacker was said to have shouted “allahu akbar” as he injured a soldier at the Louvre, Trump responded nearly immediately.
Trump also tweeted about an attack in London, where eight people were killed in a terrorist attack on the London Bridge. As news was breaking, Trump said “Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there – WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!”
He also used the attack to promote his travel ban, which was in the process of being legitimized in the courts.
When asked about Trump’s quick response to the London Bridge attack, Gorka said that was because that attack was “unequivocally clear for what it is.”
“When someone shouts ‘allahu akbar’ as their stabbing a police officer, it’s pretty clear it’s not a case of the mafia robbing a bank,” he said.
There have also been an instance that Trump has jumped the gun in calling an attack “terrorism” before it’s been confirmed.
When a Filipino casino was attacked in June, Trump called the incident and example of “what is going on throughout the world with terror.”
It was later revealed by authorities in the Philippines that the casino was robbed and it was not linked to terrorism.
But Trump has been silent on other mosque attacks in the past. When a mosque in Quebec City was attacked by a Canadian-born man, the only comment from the White House came after reporters asked about it during a press briefing.
He was also silent for days after two good Samaritans were killed defending women from a man who was harassing them because they appeared Muslim. The condemnation of the attack, when it came, only followed days after advocacy groups urged Trump to comment.
The FBI is continuing to investigate the mosque attack, and no information on suspects or motive has been released. In a statement Monday afternoon, Special Agent in Charge Rick Thornton called it a “terrible crime” and vowed to focus every available resource on the case until it’s solved.
The Dar Al-Farooq mosque primarily serves Somalis in the Minneapolis area. Minnesota is home to the largest Somali community outside of east Africa with an estimated 57,000 people, according to the most recent census estimates.
*With files from Associated Press
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