What do the Identity Evropa banner in St. Cloud, an anti-Islam protest in Texas, and a Russian Facebook account have in common? Each of them uses social media deceptively, in an attempt to increase hatred and division in American communities.
Identity Evropa is the white nationalist group that marched in Charlotte this summer, with violence that killed one counter-protester. In St. Cloud, the Identity Evropa hate-mongers hung their anti-immigrant banner over MN Highway 23 in the dark of night, on December 23. St. Cloud police saw the banner and took it down before it saw the light of day. Continue reading
American citizens have an absolute right to religious freedom – to choose and practice any religion or none at all. Today, U.S. officials target Muslim Americans in airports and haters target them in our streets and cities. This is not normal. This is un-American. We need to stand in solidarity with Muslim Americans and stop the bigotry and hatred.
Muhammed ibn Ali is the son of the late Mohammed Ali, heavyweight world boxing champion (three times), famous as well for his political stands, including opposition to the Vietnam War. Muhammed ibn Ali is a U.S. citizen, born and raised here. As a U.S. citizen, he has an absolute right to travel freely in and out of the country. Yet, when he returned to the United States with his mother after attending a Black History Month event in Jamaica, U.S. immigration officials stopped him and questioned him for more than two hours. Continue reading
I missed getting my forehead smudged with ashes on Ash Wednesday, on the slushy, icy road out of the Twin Cities by sunrise. On Thursday, I walked out of the house into a cold sunrise, heading for the Lake Street Bridge and a different kind of smudging in another holy ritual. Continue reading
In Kansas, an anti-immigrant terrorist killed one man and shot two others this week. In Florida and in Texas, arsonists burned mosques in January and February. Dozens of Jewish Community Centers have received bomb threats over the past two months, and two Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized in the past week. In each case, people have responded, fighting back against terrorism and hate. We need to acknowledge the hatred and bigotry that exists in our country. We need to name these actions as terrorism. We also need to recognize the responses of Americans rejecting that terrorism. We need to insist that we are the majority, not the haters, not the bigots, not the terrorists. This is our country, and we will not let them take it away. Continue reading
Today the bomb threat came to the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul. That’s where our children went to preschool. That’s where they learned to swim, and where we splashed and laughed together in the swimming pool. That’s where we attended plays and made friends and went to parenting groups. Do you see why this bomb threat seems personal? Do you know that this is one of dozens of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers across the country, ten today alone, dozens in the past two months? Continue reading
Today, tomorrow, this week, this month is a time to celebrate a remarkable victory for Standing Rock. Continue reading
Graphic by Rini Templeton
The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America: A View from the Inside, with its repeated and eloquent denunciations of “rural, Christian, white America” has gone viral in the past week. When I read it, I got angry. Demonization of “rural, Christian, white America” seems just as bigoted as denouncing Muslims as fanatical jihadists or Jews as world-controlling conspirators. Continue reading
UPDATE, 10 a.m. October 28: More than 100 people were arrested on October 27. Police fired beanbag rounds and teargas. Meanwhile, an Oregon jury said that the armed white men who forcibly occupied federal offices for 41 days are not guilty of anything. For more reports on October 27, see:
When I tune in to the live Facebook feed, less than an hour after it begins, some 4,000 people are watching police move in on protesters – water protectors – who have barricaded Highway 1806 in North Dakota. They are trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to protect the waters of the Missouri River from the oil pipeline that is planned to run under the river, trying to protect sacred sites of the Dakota Sioux people. This is the frontline camp, the north camp. Less than an hour later, the number is up to 16,000 people and climbing.
A young Native American man, E’esha Hoferer broadcasts live from the site, saying he is reporting for One Nation TV. We hear the police telling protesters to move south, to take their tents with them. We see people carrying straw bales and American flags. We hear the police broadcast loud, ululating noise to disrupt communications or to warn people to move back. We see the lines of law enforcement, like wings extending in both directions from their vehicles on the road. Continue reading
Riverside towers on West Bank, home to many of Somali Minnesotans, and the planned setting of K’Naan’s HBO television series.
A planned television series set in Minnesota’s Somali community sparked protests at Saturday’s West Bank block party on September 10. Angry and tired of being characterized as jihadi recruits or recruiters, Minnesota Somali youth protested Somali Canadian rapper K’naan’s television plans when he came to perform. I wasn’t there, so I can’t say who threw what first – but police sprayed some of the crowd with chemical irritants, and arrested a couple of people, including a Muslim woman who is a leader of the Black Liberation Project.
The HBO television series started out as “The Recruiters,” focusing on the Somali community in Minnesota, with the promise that it “will draw open an iron curtain behind which viewers will see the highly impenetrable world of Jihadi recruitment.” That sure plays into stereotypes about Somali youth in Minnesota. Now, the series has been renamed “Mogadishu, Minnesota,” and K’Naan claims that it will “present the true and beautiful side” of Somali immigrants. The protesters weren’t buying the new description. Continue reading
After the hatred, after the massacre, what can we say? No words can make anything better. And yet we speak, because we are human, because we use words to connect with one another and to express our grief, our outrage, our solidarity. So — some words gleaned from my Facebook and morning news: Continue reading