Oregon mosque burned in arson

In my mind, Oregon is known for two things: hipster Mecca (formerly known as Portland), and being the place you get to only after your entire family dies of dysentery. Well, I guess now it’s known for three things:

A fire at an Islamic centre in the western US state of Oregon was started intentionally, US police say. They say the blaze gutted one room of the Salman Alfarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis. No-one was injured. The centre had been attended by Somali-born teenager Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, who was held on Friday for plotting to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in nearby Portland.

I’d like to be able to pretend that I can understand the desire for retribution after someone tries to kill you, but I don’t. Partially because nobody has ever tried to kill me, but also partially because I’m not a fucking lunatic. If the KKK had a chapter headquarters in my neighbourhood, or the Hell’s Angels had a club down the street, while I might feel threatened, there’s no circumstance under which I would burn the place to the ground.

Ah, but of course this is a religious thing, so all bets are off. The perverse reality of such an attack is that it will further disenfranchise and polarize the Muslim community in Oregon (all 9 members) and make them even less likely to see themselves as part of the community.

I’m not saying that people should just roll over and give up when they’ve been attacked, but unless your plan is to kill everyone who disagrees with you, your options for reducing the risk of being attacked are somewhat limited. Burning down a community access point may not be the best choice.

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