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    Minnesota Muslims vow to continue call to prayer despite rise in mosque attacks

    Muslims in Minnesota have vowed not to stop answering the call to prayer, despite a series of attacks on mosques some believe to be a backlash to a new rule that permits the Adhan to be broadcast at any time of the day or night.In April, Minneapolis made history when it became the first major city in the US to allow mosques to broadcast the call to prayer using loudspeakers at any time. Before the change to a city noise ordinance, it had only been permitted to be put out between 7am to 10pm.Depending on the time of year, this prevented the first and last prayers being broadcast, as is demanded by Muslim tradition. The first prayer, the Fajr, is called before the sun rises. The last, the Isha, is said when darkness falls.Members of the Muslim community and their supporters celebrated the move, which was passed unanimously by the city council. Yet since the city started talking about the measure earlier this year, there have been up to six attacks on mosques and community centers in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul.While Muslims in the city have long had to battle Islamophobia, some believe the change in the law was, in part, responsible.“This has increased the worry, and the fear of Islamophobia, with a lot of congregation saying this is because of the Adhan,” said Wali Dirie, executive director of the Islamic Civic Society of America and the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque, in the Minneapolis’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.Three years ago, his mosque was the first to obtain permission for the broadcast of all five calls to prayer during Ramadan, a move that paved the way for April’s city-wide change.“We tell them ‘we don’t know 100%’ … We also tell them this is not new. We tell them we are not going to stop, and that we’re going to continue, and that we’ll work with law enforcement,” he says.During a recent morning prayer, 70-year Sareedo Abdi said she was sad the attacks had taken place and frightened her mosque could be targeted too: “We feel it’s Islamophobia.”Dirie said members of the community met with the office of the Democratic governor, Tim Walz, the mayors of Minneapolis and St Paul, and different police departments. They have asked different agencies for advice on how to improve security, and install cameras. They have also spoken to the state attorney general, Keith Ellison, himself a Muslim, who has vowed to act against hate crimes.The Twin Cities, long a Democratic party stronghold, is home to one of the largest Somali-American populations, with upwards of 70,000, according to a non-profit, Minnesota Compass. The community says it has about 30 mosques, with 22 of them located in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis city council, which unanimously passed the amendment during the month of Ramadan, has three Muslims among its 13 members.In 2018, Ilhan Omar became the first Somali-American elected to Congress, and with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, was one of the first two Muslim women to take office. Omar and others have often been the target of abuse and Islamophobic attacks. In 2019, then-president Donald Trump earned applause from his supporters at a rally in Minneapolis when he repeated false conspiracy theories about Omar from a rightwing blog, and declared: “Congresswoman Omar is an American-hating socialist. How do you have such a person representing you in Minnesota?”In April, there was outcry over a cartoon about the new rule permitting the call to prayer published by the Star-Tribune. The cartoonist claimed his intention was to show support for the move. It was later condemned by several state legislators, who also denounced the attacks on the mosques.“Globally, many Muslims report not being respected by those in the west, and this cartoon adds to that sentiment right here in Minnesota,” the lawmakers said in a statement.The newspaper’s publisher and CEO, Steve Grove, went on to apologize for publishing the cartoon.Aisha Chughtai, 25, was elected to the council in 2021. She is both a Muslim and its youngest ever member. She cautions those who link the attacks on the mosques to the change in law, which may appear to be a form of “victim blaming”. She attributed the cause to an increase in white supremacist beliefs.Growing up after 9/11, Chughtai said Muslims in the city had routinely been victims of hate crimes and abuse.“Attacks on mosques in Minnesota are shockingly common,” she said in an interview.“Being Muslim in this country, being Jewish in this country, being Black in this country, being a person of colour in this country, being an immigrant in this country, means that you experience discrimination, racism and violence in all aspects of life.”Earlier this spring, data released by the FBI showed hate crimes in America in 2021 increased by 12% on the previous year. In Minnesota, the number of incidents reported rose from 196 to 274, an increase of almost 40%.Chughtai, a Democrat, was elected to represent Ward 10, a downtown neighborhood. The previous representative was Lisa Bender, who five years ago was elected chair of the council but did not seek re-election in 2021. In the aftermath of the 2020 murder of George Floyd by then police officer Derek Chauvin, Bender led calls to defund the Minneapolis police department (MPD), a controversial move that ultimately did not get voted on.skip past newsletter promotionafter newsletter promotionEarlier this month, a damning Department of Justice (DoJ) investigation into the MPD found it engaged in a history of excessive force and discrimination against Black and Native American residents of the city. It said the pattern of behavior “made what happened to George Floyd possible”.“The patterns and practices of conduct the justice department observed during our investigation are deeply disturbing,” said the US attorney general, Merrick Garland.In a statement issued after the justice department report, the Minneapolis police chief, Brian O’Hara, vowed to rebuild trust with the community. “These findings are a major step in reforming this department into one that provides a level of service that will be a model for law enforcement agencies across the country.”Chughtai believes people of colour in the city have suffered from underinvestment in basic services and been forced to contend with a greater level of violence.“It’s really devastating and terrifying when the people who are supposed to serve and protect you are the ones furthering harm,” she added. “The responsibility of city leaders right now and the administration, is figuring out [how to address] these deep systemic issues so that our communities are safer.”The attacks on the mosques have been detailed by groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (Cair). They include someone breaking into the Oromo American Tawhid Islamic Center before that facility was destroyed in an arson attack in May. An arrest has been made in that case.In April, authorities arrested and charged 36-year-old Jackie Rahm Little with two arson attacks on mosques in Minneapolis. He was also accused of spraying graffiti on Representative Omar’s city office and damaging a police vehicle assigned to a Somali-American officer.Mohamed Ibrahim, the deputy director of Cair Minnesota, said the community was asking for more help.“People are wary of sending their kids to the mosque,” said Ibrahim. “But we also have a strong portion of the community also saying we will not allow this to stop us from attending the mosque. So, a lot of community members are showing resiliency.”Minneapolis’s mayor, Jacob Frey, said he spoke to mosque leaders, and police dispatched extra units when the incidents happened.“Places of worship in Minneapolis are places of peace and are sacred for those who visit them – we intend to keep it that way,” he said. “To our Muslim community: we have your back, and we will show it in our actions. These crimes won’t be tolerated in our city, and we will continue to hold perpetrators accountable.”Ellison said in a statement that he traveled across the state to different communities to gather ideas on how to counter hate crimes and vowed to “do everything in my power as attorney general to ensure every Minnesotan lives with dignity, safety, and respect”.At the Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque, people said they were offering help and support to those who had been attacked.Dirie said some mosques in the region decided to hold off broadcasting the call to prayer until they had done more outreach to the community, in an effort to avoid more violence. In the meantime, he said people were invited to attend his mosque.Ahmed Jamal, 52, was one of those who delivered the call to prayer. He said he did not feel frightened and added: “When I am calling, it makes me feel so happy.” More

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    Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22 and a half years for murder of George Floyd – latest news

    Key events


    3.55pm EDT

    Chauvin given 22 and a half years for George Floyd murder

    1.42pm EDT

    Health secretary ordered to investigate Fort Bliss migrant children complaints

    1.28pm EDT

    Charges possible in Trump Organization investigation – report

    12.50pm EDT

    Republican congressman compares Democrats to Nazis

    12.17pm EDT

    DoJ sues over Georgia voting rights measure – full report

    12.05pm EDT

    Georgia governor slams DoJ voting rights lawsuit

    11.10am EDT

    Justice Department sues Georgia over voting law

    Live feed


    5.43pm EDT

    Gabrielle Canon here, taking over from the west coast for the evening.
    Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has tweeted his reaction to the Chavin sentence it “historic” but agreeing with others that more needs to be done.
    “This is a positive step toward justice, but our work is not done. We’ve known all along that accountability in the courtroom is not enough,” he says.

    Governor Tim Walz
    Today, Judge Cahill gave Derek Chauvin a historic sentence. This is a positive step toward justice, but our work is not done. We’ve known all along that accountability in the courtroom is not enough.

    June 25, 2021

    “The statements today from George Floyd’s family and members of the community were painful but powerful,” he continues. “Now, as Derek Chauvin faces years behind bars, we must come together around our common humanity and continue on towards justice for all”.
    The stataement echoed the statement the governor issued on April 20, when Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, when he said that systemic change was needed to prevent this from happening again.
    Here is more from his statement in April:

    “Too many Black people have lost—and continue to lose—their lives at the hands of law enforcement in our state.”
    “Our communities of color cannot go on like this. Our police officers cannot go on like this. Our state simply cannot go on like this. And the only way it will change is through systemic reform.”
    “We must rebuild, restore, and reimagine the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. We must tackle racial inequities in every corner of society—from health to home ownership to education. We must come together around our common humanity.”
    “Let us continue on this march towards justice.”

    at 5.47pm EDT

    5.27pm EDT

    Evening summary

    That’s it for me. Here’s a recap of what happened today:

    Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the death of George Floyd.
    Here’s Joe Biden responding to the ruling.
    The UFO report is out.
    Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida addressed the building collapse and efforts by rescue workers there.
    The Manhattan district attorney informed attorneys for Donald Trump that criminal charges could be filed against the family business.

    5.13pm EDT

    Here’s Al Sharpton reacting to the ruling. Like Ellison, he said the ruling was not enough. Sharpton noted that the ruling is “longest sentence they’ve ever given but it is not justice. Justice is George Floyd would be alive.”

    ABC News
    Rev. Al Sharpton on Derek Chauvin 22.5-year sentence: “Had they done sentences like this before, maybe Chauvin would not have thought he would have gotten away with it.”

    June 25, 2021

    5.06pm EDT

    Some reaction from various corners of Twitter to the Chauvin ruling:

    Jemele Hill
    If you’re wondering if Derek Chauvin’s sentence is fair, Chauvin will be 60 years old when he’s released from prison after serving 15 years of his 22 1/2-year sentence. George Floyd was murdered by Chauvin when he was 46. Floyd can never resume his life. Chauvin can.

    June 25, 2021

    Meena Harris
    Just a reminder that Chauvin being sentenced to 22 years in prison is not justice. George Floyd being alive today — along with countless other black people murdered by the police — is justice. There’s no achieving justice from a system that is fundamentally unjust.

    June 25, 2021

    W. Kamau Bell
    White people, do not celebrate Derek Chauvin’s sentence. Figure out how you can put the same attention & activism on all police murders of Black people that you put on George Floyd. Your work is not done.

    June 25, 2021

    Harry Litman
    Presumptive sentence for the crime for a person of Chauvin’s criminal history is 12.5 years. So in effect Judge Cahill imposed an additional 10 years for the aggravating factors. Remember, Chauvin waived his right for a jury to determine & probably jury would have found even more

    June 25, 2021

    5.02pm EDT

    My colleague Adam Gabbatt had a long dispatch about the UFO report:

    The mystery of UFOs seen in American skies is likely to continue following the release of the US government’s highly anticipated UFO report.
    The report released Friday afternoon made clear that while American intelligence officials do not believe aliens are behind the UFOs – or what scientists prefer to call unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – that were observed by Navy pilots, they cannot explain what the flying objects are.
    The report confirms that the observed phenomena are not part of any US military operations.
    The Pentagon studied over 140 incidents reported by Navy pilots of UFOs seen over the last two decades for the report, many of which were seen during the summer of 2014 into the spring of 2015.
    The release of the report caps a six-month wait, since a group of elected officials succeeded in including the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 in a $2.3tn coronavirus relief bill signed by Donald Trump last December.
    The act ordered government agencies to provide a declassified “detailed analysis of unidentified aerial phenomena data and intelligence” and “a detailed description of an interagency process” for reporting UFOs.
    The discussion of UFOs – at government level or outside it – has been stigmatized for decades. While some have used the UAP materials as fodder for theories on alien life, officials have pointed to the possible threat of the UAPs being from an adversary using technology unknown to the US.

    4.50pm EDT

    The much-awaited (at least to me) Director of National Intelligence report on UFOs is here. Read it.

    4.41pm EDT

    Joe Biden was asked about his reaction to the Chauvin ruling. Here’s the pool report:

    Question: Do you have a reaction to Derek Chauvin being sentenced to 22.5 years in prison?
    Biden: “I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to me, under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate.”
    Thanks to the AP’s Darlene Superville for lending a good recording of the quote.
    More quotes coming.

    The Recount
    President Biden reacts to Derek Chauvin sentence of 22.5 years, saying “that seems to be appropriate.”

    June 25, 2021

    at 4.51pm EDT

    4.32pm EDT

    Oliver Laughland

    Just before sentencing Derek Chauvin to 22 and a half years, judge Cahill, known as a forthright and relatively brusque jurist, stated he had written a lengthy, 26 page sentencing memo to explain his thinking on the sentence, which is 10 years above the state guidance for second degree murder. “What the sentence is not based on is emotion or sympathy, but at the same time I want to acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain families are feeling, especially the Floyd family,” Cahill told the court.
    The document itself is filled with a lot legal reasoning, but the conclusion is worth reporting here as it’s a neat summary of Cahill’s thinking.
    He writes: “Part of the mission of the Minneapolis police department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect’. Here, Mr Chauvin, rather than pursuing the MPD mission, treated Mr Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor. In the court’s view, 270 months, which amounts to an additional 10 years over the presumptive 150 month sentence, is the appropriate sentence.”

    at 4.36pm EDT

    4.17pm EDT

    Here is the sentencing order on the Chauvin ruling in the Floyd case.

    4.16pm EDT

    Attorney Ben Crump has also responded to the ruling.

    Ben Crump
    22.5 YEARS! This historic sentence brings the Floyd family and our nation one step closer to healing by delivering closure and accountability.

    June 25, 2021

    4.15pm EDT

    Ellison continues: “My hope for Derek Chauvin is that he uses his long sentence to reflect on the choices he made … my hope is that he takes the time to learn something about the man whose life he took.”
    Ellison is going on to say the sentencing “is not enough”.

    at 4.19pm EDT

    4.14pm EDT

    Ellison is now speaking.
    “The sentence that the court just imposed on Derek Chauvin … is one of the longest a former police officer has ever received for an unlawful use of deadly force,” Ellison said. “Today’s sentencing is not justice but it’s another moment of real accountability on the road to justice.”

    at 4.19pm EDT

    4.12pm EDT

    Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota is about to speak about the ruling and Derek Chauvin’s sentencing. More

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    George Floyd: will Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict change US policing?

    Oliver Laughland, the Guardian’s US southern bureau chief, covered the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday – a landmark moment in US criminal justice history. Oliver looks at what the verdict means for America

    How to listen to podcasts: everything you need to know

    Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder for killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, a crime that prompted waves of protests in support of racial justice in the US and across the world. The jury swiftly and unanimously convicted Chauvin on Tuesday of all the charges he faced – second- and third-degree murder, and manslaughter – after concluding that the white former Minneapolis police officer killed the 46-year-old Black man in May through a criminal assault, by pinning him to the ground so he could not breathe. Anushka Asthana talks to the Guardian’s US southern bureau chief, Oliver Laughland, who has been in Minneapolis covering the trial. He discusses the case and whether the verdict will usher in police reforms. On Wednesday, US attorney general, Merrick Garland, announced that the Department of Justice would investigate the practices of the Minneapolis Police Department. More

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    Celebrating Derek Chauvin’s conviction is not enough. We want to live | Derecka Purnell

    A jury has found Derek Chauvin guilty of all charges against him for killing George Floyd, including unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. A judge remanded Chauvin in custody after the verdict and a cop quickly cuffed the dazed defendant to carry him out of the courtroom. Chauvin will remain in jail until his sentencing hearing in two months.Presidents did what presidents do after the criminal justice system seems to work for the people who it exploits, but this time with a twist. Neither Obama nor Biden considered the verdict justice, but rather accountability and “a step in the right direction”. Obama emphasized eliminating racial bias in policing and implementing concrete reforms for change; Biden explained that the verdict was a giant step forward towards justice in America.There are two fatal flaws with these statements. The first is that reforms cannot fix racial bias in policing because police was formed as a system of racial and economic control, and remains so. As I’ve written before: if Derek Chauvin were the kindest cop in Minnesota and did not have a biased bone in his body, he still would have been able to arrest George Floyd for any number of alleged illegal acts. Because of capitalism, racism and ableism, the darkest and poorest peoples in the United States are relegated to live precarious lives where they do what they can to survive, sometimes including breaking the law. Rather than eliminating the unjust conditions, cities and the federal government send in police to manage the inequality.Additionally, even if we could remove racial bias from police, this would not solve the underlying problems of inequality and exploitation. If it did, then there wouldn’t be so many poor, white people in prison. Last week, I watched a video of three cops arresting and slamming a 73-year-old white woman with dementia who was picking flowers on her way home. She’d forgotten to pay for her groceries at Walmart. Police dislocated her shoulder, and tied her hands and feet like a hog. She repeatedly cried that she wanted to go home and they chuckled at her. If removing racial bias in police is supposed to ensure that that Black people will be treated like white people under the law, then equal protection is completely insufficient for anyone’s freedom and safety.Additionally, we cannot expect cop convictions to save anyone’s lives because prior cop convictions did not even save George Floyd’s life. Thousands of cops have killed more than 10,000 people of all races between 2005 and 2017; only 82 cops have been charged with murder or manslaughter. According to criminologist Phil Stinson, only 19 cops were convicted and mostly on lesser charges in that time period. A judge sentenced former South Carolina cop Michael Slaeger to 20 years in prison in 2017 for shooting Walter Scott several times in the back. A judge sentenced former Chicago PD officer Jason Van Dyke in 2019 to a little over six years in prison for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times. Despite the increasing convictions, the police nationwide still kill about three people a day. Just a few years ago, Minnesota convicted a cop for a murder while on duty for the first time. Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was sentenced to about 12 years. Why didn’t all of these convictions save the thousands of people who were killed after them? Why didn’t Chauvin get the message?The celebration of the conviction as “accountability” or “justice” that will send chills down the spines of police simply doesn’t comport with the law, which protects the police’s right not to think before they act. The US supreme court opined in Graham v Connor that cops “are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving – about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation”. This means that police currently have the constitutional authority to quickly decide when to use force. Every now and then, a conviction will slip through the cracks and people will celebrate, similar to how slave patrols were punished and sometimes sent to prison for their mistreatment of slaves. But, the underlying power to be violent will remain virtually unchanged and many more people will die because of it.Even if we could remove racial bias from police, this would not solve the problems of inequality and exploitationTragically, we witnessed this on Tuesday. As the nation awaited the jury verdict’s reading against Chauvin, a white cop in Columbus, Ohio killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a 15-year-old Black girl. According to Bryant’s family, the teen reportedly called the police for help because older kids were trying to assault her. Police arrived during the altercation and shot Bryant four times.There will be calls for justice for Ma’Khia, just as there were calls for justice in the recent police killings of Daunte Wright in Minnesota and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago. Clearly cops did not get the message about justice because all of these victims were killed in the course of the Chauvin trial. But we will never know what accountability or justice means for George, Daunte, Adam or Ma’Khia because justice requires the participation of the people impacted by it. The dead cannot participate. Convictions only provide relief for the living, and they surely do not save lives. The question is: do we want convictions or do we want to live?If we want to live, then we must continue to join, support and create social movements and protests to end policing. Police abolition is not mere police absence. It is a political commitment and practice to recreate the society that thinks it needs police in the first place. People must avoid repeating the same tired reforms in the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act which does not undermine police power, and look to more transformational demands, such as those in the Breathe Act. We need abolition. Organizations like Critical Resistance, the Movement for Black Lives, Dream Defenders and various “defund the police” campaigns across the country are articulating ways to make change. We have to decide whether we have the will and imagination to join them.
    Derecka Purnell is a Guardian US columnist. She is the author of Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom More

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    'We are able to breathe again': George Floyd’s family reacts to Derek Chauvin verdict – video

    Members of George Floyd’s family choked back tears while speaking of their relief that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in their brother’s death. ‘Today, we are able to breathe again,’ George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd told reporters. The Floyd family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, said they were leaving the court knowing ‘that America is a better country’

    Derek Chauvin guilty verdict: Biden says ‘systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul’ – live
    Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd’s murder
    The life of George Floyd: ‘He knew how to make people feel better’ More

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    Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd’s murder and taken away in handcuffs – video

    Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder for killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes, a crime that prompted a wave of protests in support of racial justice in the US and across the world. The jury swiftly and unanimously convicted Chauvin of all the charges he faced – second and third degree murder, and manslaughter – after concluding that the white former Minneapolis police officer killed the 46-year-old black man through a criminal assault by pinning him to the ground so he could not breathe properly. A lack of oxygen in turn caused brain damage, heart failure and death in May last year

    Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd’s murder
    Derek Chauvin verdict: ex-police officer found guilty of George Floyd’s murder – live More