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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL)

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DFLers respond to Star Tribune editorial cartoon, recent Minneapolis Mosque attacks

Thursday, April 27, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, Rep. Hodan Hassan, Rep. Samakab Hussein, Rep. Mohamud Noor, and Sen. Omar Fateh, joined by Attorney General Keith Ellison and Mayor Melvin Carter, held a press conference in response to the recent Star Tribune cartoon depicting racist stereotypes and the recent violent attacks on several mosques in Minneapolis. Over the past several days, two local mosques have been violently attacked, resulting in fire damage to both. 

Rep. Hodan Hassan, Rep. Samakab Hussein, Rep. Mohamud Noor, and Sen. Omar Fateh issued the following statement: 

“We are incredibly disappointed in the recent publication of the Star Tribune Opinion's new editorial cartoon, Mike Thompson’s ‘It's a bit noisy in Minneapolis’ feature. While we understand the cartoon was meant to incite conversation about the lack of gun violence prevention our nation has taken, the manner in which it was done is very disturbing and blatantly racist. In the days since this cartoon was released, there have been two violent attacks on Mosques in Minneapolis.  

“Highlighting hypocrisies in society is one often successful method political cartoonist use to evoke thought and conversation from readers. In this case, the attempt fell flat and instead allowed racist stereotypes to carry the piece. The coupling of Minneapolis’ noise ordinance changes to allow the Muslim call to prayer with gun violence, which has once again tragically found prevalence in recent news cycles, was highly inappropriate and disrespectful to the Muslim community and to victims of gun violence, which disproportionately affects BIPOC communities. In this cartoon, Thompson overshot the desired ‘shock value' these cartoons are designed to evoke and instead created racist propaganda. We are equally disappointed in the Star Tribune, a news outlet that has an excellent reputation for being a trustworthy news source, for running it. 

“Our sacred religion should not be used as a strategy to elicit reactions from readers. What the cartoon insinuates is that our religion and the call to prayer is a weapon that incites death among innocent victims, similar to what guns do. Gun violence is a critical and nuanced issue in our country. But instead of highlighting those nuances, the cartoonist decided to insert religion into the mix as well, further polarizing the already prevalent Islamophobia in the United States. In the past several weeks, 3 mosques in Minneapolis have been attacked or vandalized, with two sustaining fire damage just this week. Islamophobia is rampant in our communities, and this cartoon only contributes to reinforcing that. 

“Islamophobia affects more than a small group of Muslims. Globally, many Muslims report not being respected by those in the West, and this ‘cartoon’ adds to that sentiment right here in Minnesota. Definitions of Islamophobia tend to attribute fear or hatred of Muslims to their politics or culture, and to Islam and the religiosity of Muslims. Mr. Thompson illustrated the call to prayer as yet another ‘noise disturbance’ or ‘noise pollution’ to Minnesotans while perpetuating racist stereotypes.  

“In Islam, we hold several core values including accountability, integrity, and benevolence. We urge the Star Tribune to adopt these core values the next time they decide to use our religion to incite reactions from readers.”