Minnesotans are grieving alongside the state’s Somali-American community in the aftermath of a deadly terror attack — a truck bombing that killed at least 300 people in the heart of Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu.
The blast occurred Saturday on a busy thoroughfare in the seaside city near a government building. A fuel truck that was unfortunately parked near the explosion likely helped terrorists wreak even more death and destruction than intended, helping to fuel flames that incinerated victims and left survivors badly burned. Reports indicate that the attack, blamed by the Somali government on the Al-Shabab terror group, is one of the most lethal acts of terrorism worldwide in years.
While Mogadishu is thousands of miles away from Minnesota, the tragedy shattered the peace of an autumn weekend here. The state is home to one of the nation’s largest Somali-American communities. As these new Minnesotans await potentially painful news of loved ones’ fate, they should know they are not alone in their pain.
Their friends and neighbors in their new Midwestern home are also hoping and praying for the safety of those whose whereabouts are still unknown. In addition, the loss of a Bloomington father of three who was killed in the attack is felt keenly across the state. Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, 50, was staying at a hotel near the explosion. A recent graduate of Metropolitan State University, Eyow was taking a short trip to Somalia and Kenya to visit family members.
He wanted to help rebuild his violence-weary homeland, according to a Monday Star Tribune story, and he was evaluating opportunities to do so. This senseless violence has not only deprived his family members of a father who worked two jobs to support them, but taken the life of someone who could have helped rebuild this fragile African nation’s future.
Perhaps it’s too much to hope that the Saturday bombing will pause the anti-immigrant rhetoric staining this nation’s current political debate. Still, it’s worth pointing out that this act of terror illustrates the unimaginable violence that many of the nation’s new immigrants are fleeing.
Coming here isn’t just a chance at a better life. It’s often a matter of life and death — a reality too often dismissed by increasingly influential nativist voices. There are fair questions about how the world’s leading countries should share this responsibility. But there should be no debate about this: The moral high ground is occupied by political leaders who help those with nowhere else to turn.
Rebuilding a future far from home while learning a new language isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s even harder to do so when grieving loved ones lost in Saturday’s violence and worrying where terrorists might strike next. There’s little doubt that the state’s energetic Somali-American community will rise to this challenge.
May support and sympathy from across Minnesota speed their healing.