Federal investigators uncovered a plot by local militia members to bomb an apartment complex in Garden City, Kansas. The building houses a large number of Muslim refugees.
Three men, Curtis Wayne Allen, 49, Patrick Eugene Stein, 47, and Gavin Wayne Wright, 49, were arrested on one count of conspiring to use a weapon, are members of a small militia group that calls itself “the Crusaders.” The group could face a life in prison if convicted.
However, residents of the area still felt vulnerable and exposed.
CBS News Some Kansas Muslims say they're afraid for their lives CBS News GARDEN CITY, Kan. - Law enforcement sought… https://t.co/Gj5zokflpz— Shanna (@ShannaIDK) October 16, 2016
That's when something really good happened; residents of the area came out and rallied to assure and support their Muslim neighbors under the Rev. Denise Pass, pastor of the Presbyterian Church.
"When I heard this tragic news, it came to my mind that we — as members of this community and as Christians — should support and protect the local Muslim community," Pass said.
"If I was a Muslim in the U.S. today, I would feel very vulnerable and very threatened, that’s why it is important for us to make a stance here, because we are all God's children," she added.
Pass also said that the Garden City community is largely conservative but it does not make them racist, anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant.
The Muslim community in Garden City consists mostly of refugees or asylum seekers from Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan.
There are approximately 1,000 refugees in a population of 28,000.
Muslims across the United States have faced hate crimes since 9/11 but things seem to have gotten worse recently and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to blame Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for inciting intolerance.
Trump, along with his supporter and pal, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, wants to electronically tag Muslims who are on the federal terrorist watch list.
Giuliani advises Trump’s campaign on national security and terrorism. He said, “If you’re on the terror watch list, I should you know [sic] you’re on the terror watch list. You’re on there for a reason.”
For some, that reason may simply be because of a particular overseas travel pattern. Visiting innocuous Muslim countries for a short period of time could put a terror flag on certain individuals when traveling, regardless of their faith. Even entirely innocent babies are known to be listed as potential terrorists.
Trump and his like-minded supporters can learn a lot from the residents of this small town in Kansas.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Carlos Barria