I just drove by here yesterday afternoon and was thinking, hmmm, this neighborhood doesn’t look so bad, maybe a potential place to move. Close to work? Check. Masjids? Check. Halal food? Check. Co-op? Check. Hippies? Check. Vegetarian restaurants? Check. Ah, my people! Now if only I could find some tree hugging vegetarian muslims…
Yeah, now not so much. The unofficial word from the police is that it was a robbery gone wrong, but rumors abound, of course, in that no robbery has gone this bad for as long as anyone can remember. Check the comments here to see some underlying tension here in the TC between “us” (aka white people) and “them” (aka black somalis).
inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon
Police did not identify the victims of the shootings at Seward Market and Halal Meats, on E. Franklin and 25th Avenues, but Abdirizak Bihi, director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, said they were Somali immigrants, cousins who had pooled their money to buy the market.
“They come from a well-known family in the Somali community, a hard-working family,” Bihi said. “This is very shocking.”
One of the victims, he said, has seven children.
“We don’t know what to make out of it,” he said. “Somehow, if it involved gangs, then people could somewhat understand this. But it now looks like … law-abiding Somali citizens are falling victim to this violence. … Makes me feel like no one is safe out there. … This is completely out of character for the community.”
As word of the shooting spread, Bihi said a woman called him to express sorrow.
“She said it’s unfortunate that we fled from violence and here we are trying to make our dreams come true. And then the violence follows us here.”
From Minnesota Public Radio:
The Twin Cities has seen an uptick in recent years in Somali-on-Somali killings, but mostly related to street gangs or retribution. Hindia Ali’s brother, an Augsburg College student, was gunned down two years ago while working as a youth mentor. The triple slaying, she said, is another hit for her community.
“Nobody wants to hear someone who has a business and gets killed in their business,” Ali said. “So this is a very sad night for the Somali community and something we don’t even need right now.”
Many customers said the market was clean and well-maintained, and the workers were friendly and always quick to help their patrons. Still, there have been signs of trouble at the Seward Market. The front door was repeatedly smashed and boarded up over the past few years.
The store is just one of several small East African businesses and independent merchants that have revived this stretch of Franklin Avenue. The Seward neighborhood is a diverse, middle-class area southeast of downtown known more for its food co-op than crime.
Just steps away from the news vans and the crowds, one man stood quietly holding a lit purple candle. John Wright lives just a few blocks away.
“I just wanted to, however small, express some gesture of support and prayer for peace and healing for the Somali community,” Wright said. “It just seems like one tragedy on top of another for them lately. They bring a lot of vibrant culture and diversity to our area, and they’re a real asset to our community, and it’s heartbreaking to see what they’re going through right now.”
Wright said he wishes he knew his Somali neighbors better so he could express his condolences with words. But for now, a lone candle and a prayer would have to do.
MashaAllah. It was well below 0 (that’s farenheit for ya’ll overseas, so imagine it being frigid, windy, snowing and -25C), and this man, a non muslim, stood out with a candle in support of muslim murder victims.
I wish that muslims who rant on and on about the evils of the kufar and “amrikkka” could meet some of the average minnesotans I see on a day to day basis. Yes, this country has problems. Yes, our foreign policy and the wars we’re prosecuting suck. But despite the malcontents, so many people just want interact with their neighbors, no matter what their color or creed, and live their lives in peace.