Seattle WA, December 9, 2014
The Seattle Chapter of Global Somali Diaspora (GSD) today condemned the attack on a Somali-American taxi driver in Seattle, Washington. GSD is urging Federal and State Authorities to investigate this incident as a hate crime and prosecute the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.
According to Seattle’s KOMO News, officers arrested a 26-year-old man early Sunday after he called the Somali-American taxi driver a “terrorist” and beat him unconscious, causing the cab to drift out of control and strike several parked cars before slamming into an apartment building in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood, police said. Investigators labeled the attack as a “hate crime.”
Adam Gaal, the 34-year-old Somali-American Muslim taxi driver, told police the incident began when he picked up three men and a woman just before 2 a.m. Sunday. The cab driver told authorities he was punched repeatedly in the face while driving.
In this year we have seen many violent crimes against Muslims and those perceived to be Muslims. In St. Cloud Minnesota, there was a recent property damage incident on the local Islamic Faith Center. According to Minneapolis’ Star Tribune, police said “there have been five reported incidents from Nov. 7 through Wednesday. The damage included broken windows to an Islamic center. Some vehicles parked outside a worship center also had broken windows.”
One of the strangest and surprising instances of anti-Muslim hate crimes was an incident in Kansas City where a 15-year old straight-A Somali-Muslim student Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein was attacked by Ahmed H. Aden a Somali Christian, using his SUV to run over the youth. Aden’s vehicle was covered in hate messages and had been terrorizing the Somali Muslim community for months. Other incidents include:
- In early October, a threatening letter was sent to a mosque in San Diego, California. The envelope contained an unknown substance which authorities ultimately decided was harmless, but the letter also contained the phrase “death sentence.”
- On October 28, a vandal in St. Paul, Minnesota, spelled out “Fuck Islam” in motor oil on a driveway in a neighborhood where several Muslim families live.
- On the morning of November 4th, five shots were fired at a mosque in Coachella, California. Although four people were inside at the time, no one was hit. Authorities are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.
- In mid-November, surveillance cameras recorded a woman spray-painting the wall of a mosque in Santa Cruz, California.
- On November 20, visitors to a Bosnian-Muslim graveyard in Washington state were shocked to find the headstones of their dead family members destroyed.
- Last Thursday, a mosque in St. Cloud, Minnesota was vandalized for the third time in as many weeks, with unknown assailants repeatedly shattering windows at the house of worship.” —Hiiraan Online
We must stand united as a community to address the prejudice which has led to such hatred and tragic senseless violence in these communities. We pray for quick recovery for Adam Gaal and ask the Seattle Somali Community to remain vigilant and contact authorities if they feel threatened at any time.
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