Last weekend, for the second time in just over a year, unknown vandals spray-painted "KKK" and a swastika onto the house of a Somali family in Rochester.
Muslim civil rights leaders aren't taking the latest incident lying down. Lori Saroya, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Minnesota, is calling on the FBI to investigate.
"It just sends a message that some people aren't welcomed in our community," Saroya told MPR. "That's just a very unfortunate message to send because the Somali community is an integral part of the Minnesota community in general." [jump] The incident last weekend is eerily similar to another tagging of a Somali home in May 2011. Here's a photo showing the aftermath of that incident: Ayan Hilowle, one of the Somali residents of the house that was vandalized last year, said her house had been targeted twice prior to the May 2011 incident. One time, her family's mailbox was mysteriously destroyed, and on another occasion someone shot at her house with a paint gun.
Regarding the incident in the above photo, Hilowle told MPR that "it's not a good feeling to have that all over your house, and it makes you feel like you're alone in the neighborhood. But we've gotten a lot of support from the neighbors and everyone else, so it's a good feeling now." Her family had surveillance cameras installed around their home after the racist tagging.
One of the victims of last weekend's incident, Fahma Mohamed, said she and her family "don't understand where this is coming from." Mohamed, a recent graduate of the University of St. Thomas, said her 13-year-old sister was particularly shaken up by the vandalism.
Saroya has seen enough and wants the FBI to track down the perpetrators before a third Somali family in Rochester is victimized.
"It may seem minor," Saroya said. "But what we've seen nationally is that these type of incidents escalate, and it's troubling to us that these individuals or individual know where these families live."