A police investigation into a claim that someone threw a substance in the face of a Somali runner during a regional cross-country race has raised fears of another racially charged incident targeting Lewiston Somalis.
Mohamed Noor, Maine’s previously unbeaten Class A cross-country champ, fell from second place to finish 124th and reported afterward that someone tossed the substance in his eyes.
Noor, who’s black and a Muslim, told Lewiston High School officials that a white man came after him twice once at the starting line and again on the race course at the 73rd New England Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Cumberland.
Members of Noor’s track team reported that the alleged perpetrator had been accompanied by another man handing out Biblical pamphlets before the race. The first man located Noor beforehand, wishing him “good luck,” officials said. . .
Lewiston High School Athletic Director Jason Fuller said he doesn’t know the motivation behind the attack, but could understand if people were calling it racially motivated. “It’s easy to make that jump,” he said Wednesday.
Lewiston is home to more than 3,000 Somali refugees, giving the city the highest concentration of Somalis in the country.
The influx has created tension, dating back to 2002 when then-Mayor Larry Raymond asked the Somalis in a letter to advise countrymen not to come to Lewiston because city resources were “maxed out.” (MORE)