A Double Standard for Vandalism?

MINOT, N.D. — Moorhead, Minnesota, made national headlines recently in a way that no community wants to make national headlines.

A mosque, the Moorhead Fargo Islamic Community Center, was vandalized with spray-painted racial slurs, bigoted statements, and allusions to Nazism.

A 22-year-old Dickinson man has been arrested for the crime, thanks to the detective work of a Walmart loss prevention expert, and according to court filings he apparently told law enforcement officers the vandalism was “a joke.”

It’s a “joke” that will likely change the trajectory of the rest of his life once he’s made his way through the criminal justice system.

The community response to the vandalism was, in a word, wonderful. Hundreds of people, many of them not affiliated with the mosque or the Muslim community, showed up to clean up the vandalism and express support for their neighbors. Unfortunately, while the vandalism itself made national headlines, the coverage of the cleanup response was more muted.

One type of story just gets more attention than the other, which is a ringing indictment of our news reading preferences, but I digress.

What you may not know, since it got far less attention, is that another religious building was vandalized across the Red River in Fargo just days before the mosque was besmirched.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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