Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2016) — U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison sent the following letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting the Department of Justice to investigate a possible hate crime against five Somali men who were shot in Minneapolis during Ramadan.
The full text of letter is below and can be downloaded here.
Dear Attorney General Lynch:
I am writing to request that you open a hate crime investigation into a recent shooting that took place in my district in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A group of five young Somali-American men, all dressed in traditional Muslim robes, were finishing up a game of basketball after their Ramadan Iftar dinner. They were driving to a mosque for late night prayers when they were confronted by a gunman at the intersection of 14th Ave S.E. and 6th Street S.E. at 2:00 am. The gunman fired bullets into the vehicle, shooting two of the men in the backseat. There are reports that prior to pulling out a gun, derogatory comments about Muslims were made toward the five men. Local police have yet to identify any suspects.
This violent incident appears to be a religiously-motivated attack on these Muslim youth. Therefore, I believe this case needs to be investigated as a hate crime. The attack against the five young Somali men is of major concern to my community as Minneapolis is home to the largest Somali community outside of Somalia. With the rise in anti-Muslim rhetoric across the country, crimes such as this understandably spread fear among the entire Muslim community. This incident was especially troubling for the community as it occurred during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims gather in large groups to pray and celebrate the breaking of their fast each night.
We look forward to hearing from you about this request.
Member of Congress