Media Continues Gaslighting Somali Refugee's Stabbing Terror Attack at Minnesota Mall
UPDATED: The Star Tribune reporter responds. See exchange below.
On the one-year anniversary of the terror attack in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where Somali refugee Dahir Adan walked into the Crossroads Center shopping mall and began stabbing shoppers (as he asked his victims if they were Muslim) and shouting "Allah akhbar," the media is still remarkably unclear about Adan's motives.
The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State, which declared that Adan was one of their "soldiers".
But for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there are still many doubts about Adan's motive.
"Reporter" Stephen Montemayor tells us:
But one year after Adan’s rampage, newly unsealed court filings detailing the FBI’s early response underline the difficulty that persists in trying to unwrap the young man’s motivation and determine whether he had any guidance from virtual terror planners abroad.
Days after sending more than 20 agents to St. Cloud to interview scores of witnesses, the FBI obtained search warrants for Adan’s social media accounts, the Toyota Camry he was driving when he struck a bicyclist on his way to the mall and four digital devices, according to court filings. But authorities still say they may never know what sparked Adan’s decision to bring two Farberware kitchen knives to the mall that night.
FBI special agent in charge Richard Thornton told reporters last year that the bright young college student may have been radicalized “almost overnight,” growing withdrawn and scolding relatives for not being more devout [...]
Authorities have not found contacts between Adan and operatives of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, instead pointing to witness statements that Adan shouted “Allahu akbar,” an Arabic phrase meaning “God is great,” and that he first asked some victims if they were Muslim before stabbing them.
Despite recounting the official claims of the attack by ISIS, testimony of the victims, and acknowledgement of Adan's increasingly radicalized behavior, there still remains a great mystery to his motive according to the Star Tribune.
It seems what is going on is that the Star Tribune is taking the FBI saying that they can't find a direct connection between Adan and ISIS and trying to gin that up into a controversy about what his motive was. However, these are not correlated issues.
To our knowledge and based on what has been reported, there is no indication that Adan ever claimed a direct connection to ISIS.
So how does the absence of any evidence of a direct connection, which was never claimed by Adan, suddenly throw into doubt all of the other available evidence? It doesn't. That's at the heart of the gaslighting that's going on in this case.
And for local "activist" organizations quoted by Montemayor, that manufactured doubt about Adan's motives now allows them to charge that others are able to "just fill in their own truths":
The opacity of Adan’s case has been difficult for St. Cloud, said Natalie Ringsmuth, who directs #UniteCloud, a nonprofit that has worked to ease cultural tensions. Ringsmuth said the stabbing is still referenced by anti-Muslim activists visiting the city, as recently as last week. Meanwhile, she said not knowing whether Adan was indeed radicalized has curbed the opportunity to discuss preventing a similar episode.
“We don’t know specifically how to talk about it,” she said. “And we find when there are not clear-cut answers or the truth is not available, people just fill in their own truths.”
According to this "activist" we can't even know if Adan was radicalized as he was stabbing people shouting "Islam, Islam" and "Allah akhbar"!
This is why the Star Tribune's gaslighting is so twisted. The facts of this case with respective to Adan's motive are well established. Then the Star Tribune creates a controversy to now claim that there's uncertainty and nobody else can take the available evidence at face value. If you don't remain agnostic as to Adan's motives, you're now the one jumping to conclusions.
It must be mentioned that the initial coverage of the attack by the Star Tribune last year was not only deliberately vague (Adan was never named), but written so awkwardly in the passive voice that one could have easily concluded that the attack was committed by someone with anti-Muslim grievances, not a devotee of jihadist ideology:
After criticism, the article was entirely rewritten without any explanation and without any evidence "anti-Muslim" sentiments were still to blame.
Then-FBI Director James Comey came out publicly and said that Adan was inspired by extremist ideology:
And according to CBS News, Adan had taken a sudden new interest in Islam:
The stabbings at a central Minnesota mall last month that wounded 10 likely was premeditated by the attacker, who may have become radicalized recently, federal authorities said Thursday.
Dahir Ahmed Adan became interested in Islam in the last several months, withdrew from his friends and encouraged his sisters to be more religious, FBI Special Agent Rick Thornton said at a news conference.
Witnesses told investigators that 20-year-old Adan yelled “Islam, Islam” and “Allahu akbar,” as well as asking several people whether they were Muslim before stabbing them during the Sept. 17 attack, which started outside Crossroads Center mall before moving inside.
“We were told Adan had not previously shown an interest in religion. Adan also encouraged some female relatives to become more religiously observant,” Thornton said, adding that investigators continue to analyze Adan’s digital footprint, including his social media and online activity, and are trying to obtain permission to unlock his smartphone.
FBI Director James Comey said last week it appeared Adan was at least partly inspired by extremist ideology. Thornton also said that Adan went from being a high academic performer to failing out of college “almost overnight” after taking an increased interest in Islam.
But because of the gaslighting of Adan's terror attack by the local media and "activist" organizations, conspiracies flew around the Somali community in the area, with some claiming that Adan was an innocent victim.
Adan's family also claimed he was innocent:
Because of these conspiracy theories and the media gaslighting, the FBI had to give a press conference several weeks later showing video of the attack.
Sadly, an entire genre of reporting has emerged where the media and the families of the terrorists, sometimes even the FBI and DOJ, gaslight the motive after a terror attack:
And now we have a whole new media sub-genre of "motive remains a mystery" reporting on the one-year anniversary of the attack:
Strangely, only Islamic terrorism gets this media treatment, where overwhelming evidence is dismissed in favor of hair-splitting uncertainty and slim doubts.
And it seems that the Star Tribune has become a master practitioner of that gaslighting trade.
UPDATE: The Star Tribune reporter responds