Minnesota religious and political leaders are making a show of support for the state's Muslim community following an attack on a local imam.
On Friday, a group of speakers gathered outside the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington. Among the elected officials were Gov. Tim Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison and U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips.
Also on hand were Archbishop Bernard Hebda, head of the Twin Cities Catholic church, and Rabbi Jill Crimmings.
The overriding theme of the speeches was one of unity and tolerance, with one speaker saying that everyone deserves to live in safe communities "no matter how they look like or how they worship":
According to KARE 11, Archbishop Hebda said that “we know we have that obligation to be attentive to our brothers and sisters who are in need.”
Rabbi Crimmings also spoke, saying that “when our Muslim neighbors are suffering and being attacked, the Jewish community is not at peace,” per the station.
The attack that prompted Friday's gathering happened on Thursday, Aug. 6, when 50-year-old Imam Mohamed Mukhtar was accosted by two young assailants while walking to Dar Al-Farooq. He was left with a non-life threatening upper-body injury and was taken to Fairview Southdale Hospital in Edina.
Two teens were eventually arrested in connection with the crime; on Friday, the same day as the event outside Dar Al-Farooq, Bloomington police announced that the pair, 16 and 13 years old, have been charged with assault.
"Based on statements from the victim and one of the suspects, we do not believe at this time, bias or hate was a motivating factor," police said in a release.