CAIR-MN Seeks Police Retraining After Attacks on Minneapolis Muslims

CAIR-logo(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 6/12/13) -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today called on the Minneapolis Police Department to offer retraining on proper documentation and investigation of reported bias incidents following claims that two recent attacks on Muslims in that city were mishandled.

In an April incident, a Minneapolis Muslim man dressed in traditional Somali attire reported to CAIR-MN that he was physically assaulted while walking to the library. He reported that a gray vehicle pulled up next to him and that a white male stepped out of the car and assaulted him. The Muslim victim was allegedly punched in the face, leaving him bloody and causing him to fall over a fence. There were not demands for money during the assault, and the victim reported hearing shouts, but was unable to understand what was being said.

The victim immediately located a police vehicle and reported details of the incident, including the alleged attacker’s license plate number. According to the victim, officers followed the car, but reportedly did not make an arrest or follow up on the license plate information.

In May, a Muslim woman reported to CAIR-MN that she was physically and verbally assaulted by a white male at her workplace. The assailant reportedly caused injury to the Muslim woman’s shoulder. References to "Somalis" and "Muslims" were heard during the incident. When police arrived on the scene, they spoke with the alleged assailant, but left without taking a statement from the Muslim victim.

In a letter to Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau, CAIR-MN Civil Rights Director Saly Abd Alla asked for a proper investigation of both incidents and for renewed training for Minneapolis police officers about how to respond to bias-motivated crimes.

"The apparent failure to properly document and investigate allegations of bias-motivated attacks may lead the community to believe that the Minneapolis Police Department is not taking these incidents seriously," wrote Abd Alla.

Last week, CAIR-MN called on state and national law enforcement authorities to investigate repeated vandalism targeting a mosque in Owatonna as a possible bias-motivated crime.

Video: Owatonna's Muslim Society Center Vandalized Again (KEYC)
Vandals Target Southern Minnesota Mosque (AP)

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, [email protected]