County Commission Responds to Hate Crime

Karen Newman

At their April 27 meeting, Clay County Commissioners responded to recent vandalism of the Islamic Community Center and expressions of hatred directed at the local Islamic population.  Commission Chair Kevin Campbell said, “We want the public to know that we, as a commission, do not tolerate that type of behavior.”

Commissioner Jenny Mongeau read the board’s official statement:

Hate has no home here. During the early hours of April 25, the Moorhead/Fargo Islamic Community Center, located at 2215 12th Avenue South in Moorhead, Minnesota, was vandalized. Messages of hate were spray-painted on the exterior of the building.  The Moorhead Police Department is investigating in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Clay County Board of Commissioners condemns the criminal actions taken against the Moorhead/Fargo Islamic Center. The Fargo/Moorhead region, specifically Clay County, values diversity, acceptance and tolerance. Hate in any form is unacceptable and must not be tolerated. The Clay County Board of Commissioners asks our citizens to stand up against all hate, bias, violence and discrimination in our community. Anyone with information that could assist the investigators, please call the Red River Dispatch Center at 701-451-7660 and ask to speak with the on-duty Moorhead Police Service Supervisor or please submit any information to the Moorhead Police Department Tip Line. Those contact numbers are also on our Clay County web page.

Commissioner Campbell thanked those who were part of the April 26 clean-up efforts at the center.  Commissioner Jenna Kahly participated in the cleaning day.  She reported, “I was very blessed to be there. It looks like one person or very few people committed this act of hate and hundreds of people showed up to clean. I think that is more of a statement about our community and the love that we have for each other, the acceptance that we have for each other and the unity that we hope to build as a community. Our hearts go out to our Islamic neighbors. This is Ramadan and during this time they are seeking to build a better heart for their neighbors through fasting and prayer.”

Commissioner David Ebinger stated, “We have people in this community who have suffered greatly.  Their families have suffered greatly and they have come here because of the promise that a community like Moorhead in America offers them.” He concluded that it is worth noting that the members of the mosque have said they would like to reach out to the offenders(s) when they are apprehended to increase mutual understanding. 

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