Blaine Hate Crime Sparks Town Meeting Focused on Unity, Answers

March 31, 2008


Source: Twin Cities Daily Planet

On the night of January 27, three men entered Mohammad Ismail’s Blaine Dairy store as he was closing shop and threw flaming glass bottles at the walls, destroying everything in the store. Ismail escaped through the smoke-filled store with minor cuts and burns. A strong expletive directed at the word “Arab” was founded spray painted on the side door that same night. The FBI is investigating the possibility of a hate crime.

Exactly two months later, on March 27, roughly 75 community leaders and concerned citizens gathered at Anoka Technical School to talk about what they were going to do about hate crime in their community. The crowd looked small in the auditorium, but the conversation was constructive, with many speakers stressing the need to forgive those who cause harm, educate the public, and get to know one’s neighbors. As an example of the meeting’s overall goals of unity, the event was cosponsored by the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, the Anoka Technical Student College Senate, and the NAACP.