Perpetrator of tragic mall stabbing identified

By Rohan Ahluwalia
Staff Writer

Not long after calling for “lone wolf” attacks, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (IS) might have obtained what it wanted from Dahir Adan, the suspect of an attack in Minnesota last Saturday, Sept. 18.

According to BBC, Adan, who was a 22-year-old Kenyan-born Somali man, was shot and killed by an off-duty officer after stabbing eight people at the Crossroads Center in St. Cloud, Minn., which is located 70 miles from Minneapolis. According to officers, none of the injuries sustained by victims were life threatening.

Adan, who was identified as the attacker by his father, reportedly entered the mall at around 8 p.m. dressed in a security uniform and made references to “Allah” before starting his attack. According to St. Cloud Police Chief Blair Anderson, Adan asked at least one person if they were Muslim before starting his attack, according to CNN.

Ashley Bayne, a mall employee, was visiting a coworker at the time of the incident, according to CNN. “All of sudden, chaos just broke out,” she said the day after the attack. “There was a bunch of people running into the JC Penney’s mall entrance, and they were just screaming that someone was going around the mall stabbing people, and that there was blood everywhere. It was just honestly a really scary experience.”

IS was quick to claim that Adan was one of the group’s soldiers, but the FBI have said that they could not find any link between Adan and IS. “We still don’t have anything substantive that would suggest anything more than what we know already, which is this was a lone attacker,” Anderson told CNN. “And right now, we’re trying to get to the bottom of his motivations.”

According to the New York Post, IS is known to have claimed responsibility for past attacks that were not planned by the organization themselves.

In response to local reports that identified Adan as a Muslim, members of the Muslim community held a conference the day after the attacks. They expressed their grief and called for unity among all Muslims and non-Muslims.

Since the attack, there has been a major concern about backlash toward Muslims, especially in St. Cloud, which is home to one of Minnesota’s biggest Muslim immigrant populations. However, the St. Cloud community has experienced conflict from both Muslims and non-Muslims.

“We are also concerned about the potential backlash,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations chapter in Minnesota, according to CNN. “We understand in St. Cloud, there is more anti-Muslim organizing and we hope they do not use this incident to divide… our community.”

According to BBC, all but one of the victims have been released from the hospital. Meanwhile, the FBI is calling the attack “a potential act of terrorism,” but have not released any more details.