Just hours after a young Somali immigrant stabbed nine people at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, a mid-sized town in central Minnesota, the far-Left Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article hinting that the suspect may have been inspired by “anti-Muslim tensions.” The article was later scrubbed and replaced with a new article that directly raised the question of whether the attack by Dahir Adan was motivated by previous anti-Muslim incidents in the city.
Last night I reported here at PJ Media on the stabbing attack and the reports from local St. Cloud police that the suspect, who at that time hadn’t been named, had made references to “Allah” and asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim.
Earlier today, family members named Dahir Adan, a local Somali man who came to the United States 15 years ago and was a junior at St. Cloud State University, as the attacker.
But at 2:42 p.m. today, Pat Pheifer of the Star Tribune published an article, now removed and replaced on the newspaper’s website, titled “Anti-Muslim Tension Isn’t New in St. Cloud.”
I screen captured the article before it was scrubbed and replaced.
In the opening paragraphs, Pheifer writes so ambiguously that one could easily conclude that someone motivated by anti-Muslim beliefs was responsible for the attack:
A cloud of anti-Muslim sentiment and tension has hung over St. Cloud for the past seven years, with incidents ranging from bullying Somali and other East African immigrants at St. Cloud Technical High School, to women being screamed at in grocery stores, pig intestines wrapped around the door handles of a halal grocery store, and offensive billboards and license plates.
The most physically injurious incident came Saturday evening when a man stabbed nine people at the city’s Crossroads Center before the attacker was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer. No one but the attacker was killed.
Authorities said the man reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them and referred to Allah during the attacks.
So after a recitation of previous anti-Muslim incidents, Pheifer introduces “the most physically injurious incident” — the mass stabbing at Crossroads Center. A reader could understandably think that this new incident was similar in nature to those just recounted.
And the ambiguous description of the incident might lead one to conclude that it was anti-Muslim in nature.
Only at this point is there any mention that the attack might have been motivated by radical Islamic ideology.
ISIL, on Twitter, claimed credit for the mall violence and called the attacked “a soldier of the Islamic State.”
Nowhere else in the original article, which continues with more recitation of alleged “anti-Muslim” activity in St. Cloud, is there any indication that the attacker was Muslim and the victims targeted in the attack non-Muslim.
And despite the fact that the attacker’s name was already circulating in the media, Dahir Adan’s name never appears.
I wasn’t the only one to spot this problematic wording. Journalist Asra Nomani took issue with the article too:
— Asra Q. Nomani (@AsraNomani) September 18, 2016
Someone at the Star Tribune must have noted it as well, or been aware of some of the criticisms of how the article was framed, because without any notice the article was scrubbed and replaced with a different version posted at 8:21pm.
But now the new version of the article directly asks whether Dahir Adan may have been acting in response to the supposed anti-Muslim atmosphere in St. Cloud:
St. Cloud has dealt with tensions between Muslims and some non-Muslims for the past seven years, with incidents including bullying of Somali and other East African immigrants at St. Cloud Technical High School, women being screamed at in grocery stores, pig intestines draped on the entry of a halal grocery store, and offensive billboards and license plates.
Whether those incidents motivated a 22-year-old Somali man who stabbed nine people at the Crossroads Center on Saturday evening isn’t known and may never be known. The attacker was killed inside the mall by an off-duty police officer 5 minutes after the first 911 call was made. All of his victims survived.
Authorities said the man reportedly asked at least one victim whether they were Muslim before assaulting them and referred to Allah during the attacks. On Twitter, ISIL called the attacker “a soldier of the Islamic state.”
Such reporting, blaming non-Muslims for what is now clearly an attack inspired by a suspect inspired by radical Islam, in the absence of any evidence to support the claim, is itself inflammatory.
One could even claim that such unsupported assertions by the American media actually aid and justify the Islamic State’s “persecuted-Muslims” narrative.
As the presidential election enters its final phase, we can expect more, not less, of this yellow journalism. And when the election is over, the establishment media will emerge even more tarnished and distrusted by the public than ever before.