Somali community finds strength after a day of fear

Mary Street residents come together to pray after a hard day
Mary Street residents come together to pray after a hard day

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Three Kansas men were arrested for planning to bomb a southwest Kansas mosque and apartment building.

The residents at the targeted apartment complex are scared, some for the first time since coming to America.

But tonight, the Somali refugees who live there came together to find comfort in their community and their faith.

“I believe America is safe, but now I’m feeling unsafe with what I hear,” said Abdirsaq Hassan, a resident of the apartment complex. “It’s not something good.”

Many of the residents escaped one threat of violence in their home countries only to find another.

“I’m here, United States, like 15 years now,” said Abdul Kadir Mohamed, another resident. “I never meet any problem, except today when I had this information, and it makes me shocked and scared, really.”

The targeted apartment complex is home to Muslim, Somali refugees and the mosque they pray in.

It’s a violation of what should be a safe space.

“For myself, I’m going to pray in my apartment, in my room,” said Mohamed. “I don’t want to come to the mosque again. Scary.”

But some residents are standing strong, refusing to be afraid to pray in their house of worship.

“Yeah, I’ll be there. First person,” said Faisal Ahmed, who prays at the mosque. “But if it comes again, maybe I will worry.”

Tonight, as the group gathered for evening prayer, they also came with a hope that they’ll finally find a lasting, peaceful home

“We are good people,” said Hassan. “We don’t hate people. I don’t know when I’m safe. I don’t know.”

Mohamed, a proud naturalized citizen, said some of his neighbors are already talking about moving to a safer place. He says he’s trying to calm their fears by reminding them the suspects were arrested, and that it’ll be hard to find a place safer from domestic terrorism than Finney County.