Trump’s silence on Minnesota mosque attack prompts criticism

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SHAFAQNA – President Donald Trump has tweeted 29 times since a bomb exploded at a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, on Saturday, but he has not weighed in to address the shaken Muslim community near the Twin Cities.

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday condemned the attack, which did not result in any injuries, but Trump himself has not, instead tweeting criticism of senators and the media, as well as threatening “tough and decisive” action regarding North Korea. The White House did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

National security aide Sebastian Gorka, however, said Tuesday that it is prudent for Trump to hold off on commenting because the ideological motive behind the attack isn’t known.

“There’s a great rule: all initial reports are false,” Gorka said in an interview on MSNBC with Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle. “You have to check them. You have to find out who the perpetrators are.”

Speaking from the White House press briefing room, Gorka’s main criticism was that the far-right is falsely accused of hate crimes.

“We’ve had a series of crimes committed—alleged hate crimes—by right-wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to actually have been propagated by the left,” he said. “So let’s wait and see.”

Despite the silence from Trump, community members have stepped up to help the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center rebuild. A Go Fund Me page has raised over $76,000 toward a $95,000 goal in just two days. But Abdu Llahi, a volunteer at Dar Al-Farooq, said it would help if Trump lent his support.

“It would start a national dialogue,” Llahi said. “That might change the tone a bit, where him talking about this problem would show that he isn’t the president for a certain group of people but the whole United States.”

The Council for American-Islamic Relations said a recent study showed a 584 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims from 2014 to 2016, when Trump was elected president. Critics say his rhetoric about Islam and his policies, including a travel ban that targeted Muslim-majority countries, may have spurred some of the violence.

“This has empowered those who harbor anti-Muslim views,” Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for CAIR, said of Trump’s rhetoric and policies. “But he really needs to speak out against these type of things, because those who support him take his silence as tacit support.”

Trump is often quick to classify violence as terrorism, including earlier this yearwhen hedescribed as terrorism an incident in the Philippines that authorities later said was likely a robbery attempt. But he has not weighed in on the Minnesota explosion, even though the state’s governor has declared it an “act of terrorism.”

Trump also has been accused of being slow to condemn attacks directed against Muslims, including the stabbing deaths of two men in Portland, Oregon, who stood up to a man who witnesses said harassed a Muslim woman.

As Trump takes “meetings and calls” and hits the links at his Bedminster golf club, where the White House says he’s on a “working vacation,” CAIR’s Hooper concluded that the commander in chief’s priorities are perhaps most clear on his Twitter feed.

“He has time to tweet attacks on lawmakers, he has time to tweet attacks on the news media, but he somehow has no time to denounce attacks on the Muslim community,” Hooper said.

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