ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) - Students at St. Cloud State University teamed up with city leaders Tuesday to fight Islamaphobia, after their former classmate injured ten people in a mall attack over the weekend.
According to police, Dahir Ahmed Adan, 20, reportedly said something about “Allah” and asked a victim if they were Muslim before attacking them.
Adan started taking college courses in high school, enrolling full time at SCSU in 2014. He did not return for the 2016-17 school year.
According to those who knew him, he was a good student and enthusiastic sports fan.
“He was a Laker fan and Viking fan and I’m a Packer fan so we would have little arguments, but he was the kindest person I knew,” said a woman who grew up with him in St. Cloud.
She said he never showed signs of mental illness or radicalization.
“Everyone in the Somali community is in shock and denial about what happened,” said Mohamed Warsame, President of the Somali Student Association at St. Cloud State.
Muslim community leaders say Adan’s family wants to see surveillance footage from the mall, as they are having a hard time believing the scenario laid out by authorities.
“That’s just what puzzles me—I have a lot of questions,” Adan's friend said. “ It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
St. Cloud Police Chief William Blair Anderson and Mayor Dave Kleis joined students as they called for peace and inclusion. Student organizers say the purpose of the event was to change the national image of St. Cloud that has been disseminated this week.
“We felt it was responsible for us to do something that brings a positive image of St. Cloud," said Warsame.