A Minnesota teenager has been arrested and charged with various offenses after he allegedly sprayed immigrant Muslim children with a hose while yelling ethnic slurs at them, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Authorities say that Zachariah Manahan, 18, sprayed water from a garden hose at Somali children playing in the front yard of their home in Faribault. What’s more, as Yahoo News reports, he allegedly yelled “”F**king Somalians” and “B***h Somalians” while doing so.
Manahan allegedly told police that he was only trying to wash the top of his fence, and that if any water sprayed onto his neighbors’ lawn, it was an accident. However, one of the victims, a 15-year-old girl, said that Manahan sprayed her and her siblings three times that day, soaking their furniture, a rug, items of clothing and the walls of their home, including an upstairs room.
Minnesota is home to a large and thriving Muslim community, as The Star Tribune reported in March, and a sizable number of those Muslims are refugees from Somalia. The East African nation has been torn apart by decades of civil war and anarchy, and many have fled, eventually winding up in the U.S.
In particular, Faribault, about 50 miles from Minneapolis, has a larger-than-average share of Somalis among its Muslim population. Jaylani Hussein, Director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said that Faribault, unlike nearby St. Cloud, hasn’t seen the amount of anti-Muslim hate crimes that other Muslim communities across Minnesota have seen.
“We welcome the charges brought against this suspect who allegedly terrorized Muslim children and hope they send the message that bias-motivated acts of violence will not be tolerated in our state or nation,” said Hussein.
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However, Hussein also notes that many Muslim victims of crimes, particularly recent immigrants from Somalia, are too afraid to report being victimized, for fear of repercussions.
Faribault Police Chief Andy Bohlen, for his part, said that Manahan’s reported “offensive and boisterous conduct” has no place in his community, adding that “picking on people certainly justified the charges.”
Manahan has been charged with felony stalking committed because of bias as well as gross-misdemeanor property damage and misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Minnesota isn’t the only state in the U.S. to host a large number of Somali immigrants. Lured by jobs in the meat-packing industry, a sizable number of Somali Muslim immigrants have made their home in Garden City, Kansas. Three men were convicted earlier this year of attempting to bomb an apartment building where many of them lived, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr.