WASHINGTON – As the Trump administration waits for more information on the explosion at a Minnesota mosque, one Minnesota representative is calling the president’s failure to condemn the situation an “outrage.”
White House national security adviser Sebastian Gorka made headlines yesterday for his defense of President Donald Trump’s silence on an explosion at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. In an interview on MSNBC, Gorka explained the delay in response, saying the Trump administration will “absolutely” comment on the situation once there is a finalized investigation.
“There’s a great rule: All initial reports are false,” Gorka said. “You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are. 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.”
Gorka indicated the White House is waiting for local authorities to determine “exactly what’s going on” before making a statement.
The cautious tone by the White House is not in vain. There have been incidents such as the Christmas 2015 mosque arson in Houston, Texas, which was originally credited as an islamophobic act, was actually burned down by a devout attendee. In Minnesota, a broken window at a St. Cloud mosque was also called a hate crime, but the St. Cloud Times reports the broken window was caused by an intoxicated man who was a frequent worshipper at the mosque.
“Let’s wait and see,” Gorka said. “Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment, and then the White House will make its comments.”
Despite past cases that call for a cautious tone in such a delicate case, Democratic National Committee deputy chairman and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison released a statement Wednesday blasting the Trump administration’s handling of the explosion at Dar Al Farooq, saying that Trump’s failure to condemn the situation is “strengthening the forces of hate across the world.”
“The President’s failure to condemn the terrorist attack on the Bloomington Islamic Center is an outrage,” Ellison said in a statement. “It suggests that his oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, including the right to equal protection under the law, only extends to people who meet certain racial and religious criteria.
“Even worse, Sebastian Gorka, one of Trump’s top aides, is trying with no evidence whatsoever to distract the public’s attention from the real story: that a group of Americans who were peacefully worshipping were the target of a terrorist act. By minimizing the attack and insinuating that the ‘left’ is behind this act, the Trump administration is once again showing its disdain for the Muslim American community.”
Ellison is not the only Minnesota politician to condemn the incident as a terrorist attack. At a press conference on Sunday, Gov. Mark Dayton called the explosion “act of terrorism” and a “hate crime” despite the investigation still being ongoing.
Dar Al Farooq itself has been dogged by questions of potential ties to terrorism, including ISIS, as Alpha News reported previously. The center has also sparred with other members of the local community.