After the incident that occurred at Crossroads Center two weeks ago, members of the Muslim community and local politicians all have differing perspectives on what happened, why it happened and what needs to be done in order to build bridges, not break them.
In recent memory of the Crossroads Center stabbings, Muslim and Somali students at St. Cloud State University say they do not tolerate the recent acts of violence in their community.
Syed Shah Newaj, a junior at SCSU says that he was shocked when he heard of the attack at the mall.
“I got a notification on my phone at three in the morning that something had happened at Crossroads and I just didn’t even know what to say,” he said.
Newaj also said he felt the stabber sent the Somali and Muslim community back in time because this is not how both communities represent themselves; they feel attached to the St. Cloud area.
“We are trying to do good, but these crazy people just slow down our progress.”
While Newaj said he doesn’t feel any discrimination on campus or in the St. Cloud area personally, some of his friends have faced isolation and avoidance from St. Cloud residents.
“Some of my friends say they will be walking down the street and make avoiding gazes, or giving them nasty looks, it’s mostly body language towards others.”
When it comes to what the St. Cloud community should do to mend a potential rift, Newaj says that we need to not give the extremists any attention and make sure to normalize relations between the residents of St. Cloud.
As the election season is getting closer and closer, local politicians running for State Senate and House Districts 14 A and B weighed in on the recent attacks with varying perspectives on how to decrease tensions between the Somali and Muslim communities.
State Senator Jerry Relph says that when it comes to community relations, it comes down to good policy.
“You only get one State Senator, I have to represent one district with multiple viewpoints, by representing people from both sides of the issue, we can bring this community together.”
State officials agree with the sentiment. As candidates get ready for the election coming up in November, they all have to start thinking about community relations and how to deal with difficult situations such as the incident at Crossroads Center.
State Representative candidate Zachary Dorholt believes that people need to treat this incident as a human situation that involves people with real feelings and real struggles.
“St. Cloud community teachers, principals and the education community, in general, has done a great job of dealing with this,” said Dorholt. “We were able to absorb this and own the narrative.”
Dorholt claims the key to a successful conversation between state officials and various communities within the city lies in a foundation of higher education. He believes because St. Cloud officials were so willing to speak openly about the incident, everyone was able to come closer together faster to start healing.
Over the past two weeks, tensions have been high, but there has been a strong effort by St. Cloud Police and the FBI to shed new light on a tense situation. The community has come together as a whole hoping to put this incident in the past and continue to grow.