ST. Cloud, MN “Radical Islamism” has been repeatedly used to fan the flames of islamophobia. After the stabbing at the Cross Roads Mall in St Cloud, people have questioned if the Quran, instigates violence.
According to Haji Yussuf, Radical Islamism has never been an issue in the Muslim community here. He says if it is now becoming a problem, the community needs to realize that this is this community’s problem. The community has to look into it together, and find a solution to it as one.
Margaret Schwagel, a community member and St Cloud State University student attributes these comments to the discomfort that people feel when tragedy strikes. She states;
“I feel as if the rumors that trace around radical Islam are completely coming from fear of the unknown with people. I’d think that there is very little information out there.”
Community members emphasize the fact that terror has been unleashed on communities around the country, and the World, by people of different races. According to Mayor Kleis, “Any act of Evil and violence is an act of terrorism.” It does not matter who perpetrates it.
According to Yussuf, alienating people on account of race, class, religion, sexual orientation, and any other tool of seperation, could push that desperation in them to want to find a place where they’d belong.
“You have kids that come to this county right, and they are made to feel they are not part of this country…and you have somebody on social media that gives them hope and tells them, “America doesn’t love you, what are you doing there? Let’s harm those people…they are white people; they don’t like your” says Yussuf
He believes violence has been a part of every Religion. If everyone practiced every bad aspect of their “Holy Book,” says Yussof, the World would be worse off. He also says if violence is what you are looking for in a “Holy Book,” one simply has to go through the pages and highlight the parts where violence is mentioned. Yussuf says he was raised Muslim, and no part of his theology urged him to commit violence.
“The Muslims that live in this community are peace loving. They wanna make something out of themselves, they have jobs, they have a family, they have children that they need to raise…(they) wanna be part of the dream that America is all about.”
Mayor Kleis urges the people of St Cloud to focus on community building and not dwell on the aspects that encourage division. Mayor Kleis states “People just need to renew their efforts in getting to know each other. Getting to know each other builds trust, trust builds a wonderful community.”