A Minnesota man who was arrested for allegedly stabbing and biting another man told police that the attack was motivated by his hatred of Muslims.
Kelvin Porter, 46, was in the predominantly Somali-American populated neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside in Minneapolis last Friday when he attacked his victim. He later told police officers, “I hate Muslims” and said that he “tried to stab the Somalian [sic] in the neck,” according to police, the Star Tribune reported.
Porter was arrested and charged with second degree assault and has been in jail since the incident.
The incident began with Porter acting aggressively towards the victim, causing the unidentified man to run inside of a nearby restaurant, according to police. When the victim came back outside, Porter lunged at and attacked him – stabbing him numerous times and biting him in the face. The victim suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder, hands, face and abdomen, police reportedly said.
According to a criminal complaint, the incident was captured on security cameras.
During Porter’s booking at the police station, Porter allegedly showed police how he attacked the victim, and “yelled that he had tried to kill a Muslim by stabbing him in the neck,” the Star Tribune reported.
Minnesota has a large Somali population following the resettlement of Somali refugees after a prolonged civil war in the early 1990s. Census data shows that up to one in three Somalis in the US live in Minnesota — with significant populations in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
When President Donald Trump was campaigning in Minnesota, just days before the election, he spoke about the Somali immigrant community and a handful of terror-related activities as a pretense to advocate for a Syrian refugee ban.
“Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen firsthand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval,” Trump said at a rally in Minneapolis amid cheers.
“Everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota,” Trump said, adding that Minnesotans had “suffered enough,” possibly referring to a knife attack carried out by a 20-year-old Somali-American in a St. Cloud mall.
Well before that incident, which is still under investigation by the FBI, hate crimes against Muslims in the US rose by 67% in 2015 – the second-highest annual percentage increase recorded since 1992, according to FBI statistics. FBI hate crime statistics have not yet been released for 2016.
In recent years, a number of bias attacks against Somali-Americans have taken place around the country, including in Minnesota.
In December 2016, a woman pleaded guilty after hitting a Somali American woman in the face with a beer mug after she heard her speaking Swahili at an Applebee’s in a neighborhood just north of Minneapolis. “Speak English,” the attacked told the victim, Asma Jama.
During the attackers sentencing, Jama told the attacker, “My religion teaches me to forgive so I can get on with my life. If I hold a grudge, if I hold the hate you hold towards me against you, it’s not going to serve me well.”
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