On Monday, the mastermind behind the 2017 Minneapolis, Minnesota, bombing of a mosque that terrorized the community of Somali immigrants was sentenced to 53 years in prison. Fifty-year-old Emily Claire Hari was found guilty on five-federal charges for orchestrating the bombing on the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Centre in Bloomington, Minnesota, that had aimed to target the worshippers during the morning prayers. It was quite fortunate that no one was hurt despite the attempted killing. The verdict for Hari is a crucial turning point in the state of Minnesota, the US, as it recognizes the presence of white supremacist-led militia groups and domestic terrorism.
The West has shied away from terming white-supremacist led attacks on terror charges, often using the word ‘lone-wolf’ to address the culprit. However, the Monday verdict handed down by United States District Judge Donovan Frank described the attack as a “highly sophisticated and premeditated act of domestic terrorism”. It also noted that Hari was the ringleader of a militia group called ‘The White Rabbits’. The fact that such Islamophobic groups exist in the US is not new. Western political and intellectual leaderships themselves knowingly or inadvertently mainstreamed hatred towards Muslims, especially post the 9/11 attacks. The space for immigrants or minority groups has since only been shrinking with investigative authorities in the West fixated towards finding Muslim-led terror groups. This in turn has only led to networks like that of The White Rabbits to actively inspire and recruit individuals to carry out such attacks.
What is worse is that policymakers have done little to nothing to protect marginalized communities, such as, Muslims or the Black community. Let us not forget that it was indeed a police officer in uniform from Minneapolis who had choked George Floyd to death in broad daylight. The May 25, 2020, brutal murder of the 46-year-old African-American gave way to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that saw the police officer being convicted on three-counts. While Floyd was served justice, many still face the brunt of racism and xenophobia that engulfs the West. It is then necessary for the leadership in the US to not only condemn acts of terrorism but also work towards creating a society where everyone, irrespective of its class, race or gender can co-exist in peace and without fear.