[Originally posted on my Facebook page]
I have been doing a little bit of research (using my new search engines — anything but Google) into the mosque bombing that occurred recently in Bloomington, Minnesota. I utterly oppose such bombings, from both a civil and a moral standpoint, but in trying to understand what took place I was struck by a curious omission of detail shared by all of the reporting that I could readily access via search. For me, this is a question about journalists and journalism.
What I noticed was that the act was generally reported as the firebombing of a mosque, when it was was more specifically the targeted firebombing of a particular room within the facility, the imam’s office (I did find that detail in at least one news story). I was curious as to who the imam was, and what he stands for, because I like to try to understand things such as whether there was anything about his work that might motivate a dangerously unstable individual (I don’t know of any other kind of person that sets fire to offices, even when they are unoccupied) to want to burn this particular office down. In other words I am asking the kind of questions that journalists might ordinarily ask when a story such as this one breaks, in an attempt to objectively make sense of events.
It turns out that he is Dr. Waleed Al-Maneese, known by a variety of aliases, and that he is quite an interesting character, well known to the FBI (the agency investigating the bombing). I am surprised that journalists haven’t particularly wanted to so much as mention his name, let alone write about him and his work. And that is all I have to say.