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Trump's effect on Muslim migrant debate reverberates in heartland
by Robert Samuels
After the fire, the patrons of Juba Coffee and Restaurant gathered behind yellow police tape and mourned the charred remains of a place they called their own. Dressed in hijabs and tunics and speaking their native language, the Somali refugees said they'd long been comfortable in this overwhelmingly white, Protestant city. But now they were upset and frightened.
"We cannot let them see us angry," the owner, Abdulaziz Moallin, 36, told his fellow Somalis after the Dec. 8 fire. "We have to be sure they see us as good neighbors. Let's not try to blame anyone."
The advice was difficult to follow. The fire, which erupted when someone tossed a 40-ounce can of Bud Light filled with gasoline into the restaurant, happened hours after Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country. Although the motive for the crime was unclear, many of the customers could not help but wonder whether this was the latest attempt in the city to intimidate those who practiced Islam.
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